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Starting my paratriathlon journey


Troye Collins is a former international wheelchair rugby player who is starting out on his journey into paratriathlon, with the challenge of three sports a key driver behind him wanting to take on the sport.

Collins had a rugby accident in 1992 whilst living in South Africa, breaking his neck and becoming paralysed from the chest down.

Two years later, he moved to the UK, where he was born, and was introduced to wheelchair rugby, a sport in which he represented ParalympicsGB in Sydney, Athens and Beijing and competed around the world for a range of different teams in national leagues.

As well as wheelchair rugby, Collins also represented Great Britain at the world championships in water-skiing. With the sport playing a crucial part in him regaining an active lifestyle following personal setbacks and mental health issues.

“For about the past 10 years, I was in a bad place and couldn’t find myself getting out of it,” Collins commented. “I got involved in things that I shouldn’t have like drugs and was in and out of hospital for surgery because of sores.

“It was only at the beginning of this year when the Euros were on, a friend of mine who lives down in London said to me that he’d bought a house in America and would I be interested in house-sitting for him. I went down there and it was whilst I was down there and I had to take care of myself that I started doing a bit of exercise.”

With this change of scenery and fresh impetus to get active, Collins was introduced to a friend of his brother who was a water-ski and wakeboard coach who encouraged him to get back to physical activity.

Having found his way back into sport and rediscovered his love for competing and training, he started looking at sports he could get into, with triathlon being one that stood out to him.

“Triathlon was one of them that I was quite interested in,” added Collins. “I love the water, I love swimming and I’d never tried a hand bike or a race chair but they were things that I’d wanted to try in years gone by.

“I want to try and make the Paralympics again and I know what I need to do. I said to myself ‘if I can train hard like I know I can’ I want to give myself the chance of making the team.

“It’s a sense that it [triathlon] is like a team sport. I know when you’re out there and competing you’re on your own, but it had a team feeling about it. People you could train with and that’s what I was looking for. People you could train with and push one another, but at the end of the day you compete individually.

“I’d done the team sports and the whole team ethic but knew that what I wanted to do was something for myself.”

Collins got in touch with East Midlands Regional Manager Sarah Williams about getting involved in the sport, with her support key to him navigating his introduction to the sport.

“It wasn’t that easy, but I’m thankful that Sarah sent me an email to check how I’d got on with the information she’d sent me,” Collins added.

“If someone is of an older age it tends to be extremely difficult to get involved in a new sport at a competitive level because the majority of support or help tends to go towards the younger generation which I find extremely annoying because I’m a firm believer that age is just a number. There should be an easier pathway if someone shows the potential to compete at the higher level.

“I would love to [race next year], I’ve been in such a positive frame of mind for the past six months. I’m slowly losing weight, I’ve started college, putting myself out there to meet new people and stay positive.

“I’m riding this huge high at the moment and I just want to stay on this high because I know what my goals are. It might be an impossible goal but I want to give it everything I can.”

As the next part of his introduction to the sport, Collins will need to trial using a hand bike and a race chair, whilst also building his strength in the gym and continuing to lead a healthy lifestyle. For motivation, his brother in South Africa is also training to take on an IRONMAN, with the pair encouraging one another across the world in their training.

“I’m super interested in doing something like this,” Collins concluded. “I’ve always said to myself if I give it my all and I don’t get selected or I’m no good at it then at least I’ve tried. I just need stuff like this in my life because I know what it does for my mental health.

“I just know that there’s unfinished business. I want to go to the Paralympics again. I want to try and achieve the goal that I set when I was a kid to win a medal. I used to love competing, I’m very competitive, but most of all, I love the training.”

You can find out more about paratriathlon and taking up the sport by visiting the British Triathlon website on the link below. You can also get in touch with Sarah Williams (East Midlands Regional Manager) by emailing sarahwilliams@britishtriathlon.org.


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