Joe Townsend is a UK Sport Lottery Funded paratriathlete. He is based from home in Eastbourne. Having taken up triathlon in 2011, he represented Great Britain at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. He has won European and world medals as well as becoming Commonwealth Champion in April 2018.
Joe is a former Royal Marine Commando who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008. Had had no previous swimming background and got into hand cycling as part of his rehabilitation.
He went on to complete the Ironman UK triathlon in Bolton in July 2011 and then in 2012, he competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where he finished second in the disability category in a time of 11:35:52.
Joe carried the Paralympic Flame into the London 2012 stadium as part of the opening ceremony. He was suspended by wires and made a dramatic overhead entrance to the arena, even though he is actually scared of heights.
At the Invictus Games in 2014 he won four gold medals on the athletics track. He also took part in the cycling and power lifting events.
Joe’s first taste of international triathlon came in 2012 at the European Championships in Eilat. He finished third. He finished sixth in the very competitive Rio Paratriathlon and has made significant improvements since.
He won his first global medal at the ITU World Championships in Rotterdam in 2017 and repeated this finishing position again in 2018. His classification is dominated by two huge Dutch athletes, but Joe is consistently performing as the third best wheelchair athlete in the world. He achieved a stunning gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, where Paratriathlon featured in the Games for the first time ever.
Joe was able to deliver several top five finishes in 2019 including victory in the PTWC Men’s races at the Great Britain Paratriathlon National Championships and the Tokyo ITU Paratriathlon World Cup.
Joe was based at the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre but moved back to his hometown of Eastbourne following the Rio Paralympic Games. He has a wife and young child. He aspires to work in elite sport as a Strength and Conditioning coach, having become the first UKSCA accredited strength and conditioning coach in a wheelchair.