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Breaking down barriers with Team Ladybugs

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Having completed 50+ triathlons over the years, including at five World Series events, Team Ladybugs are out to show that triathlon is a sport for everyone.

Taking part as ‘Team Ladybugs’, father and daughter team Stephan and Chloe Couture love nothing more than getting out together. Chloe, who was born with cerebral palsy and is registered severely visually impaired, was adopted by Stephan and his wife Diane 9 years ago and is totally dependent on her parents for her every need.

So far in 2019 they’ve completed 3 triathlons, including the AJ Bell World Series Leeds and Accenture World Triathlon Nottingham. After the race in Nottingham, Stephan said, “triathlon is all about fun and there are no boundaries, nobody judges anyone. For disabled and able bodied athletes, taking part needs to be about having fun and getting involved. Chloe loves it, I love it; and for us, taking part about raising awareness of disabled people taking part in sport and society.”

Together they took part in 72 races in 2018, and their team name came from Chloe’s class at school Stephan commented: “Chloe was in Ladybird class; however she couldn’t say Ladybird but could say Ladybug, and that’s where we got the name from.”

A smiling, laughing Chloe is taken around the course by Stephan allowing her to enjoy the full swim, bike and run experience. On the swim, Stephan pulls her along on a specially designed kayak, before transferring her into her specially modified wheelchair (or Daddy Daughter Two as Chloe calls it), which he then tows on his bike and pushes on the run.

The stimulation that Chloe gets from being out and about with her dad, come rain or shine, is something she loves and lives for, calling “Dad, dad, race. Dada go” as they go round the course.

Helping Chloe to take part in something she loves is what it’s all about for Stephan.

“She lives for her racing and as long as we’re out together, she loves it,” Stephan said. “It allows her to enjoy the social side of taking part as others say hello all the time, plus, being outside is a really stimulating sensory experience for her.

Stephan added: “Able bodied participants ask questions, and that’s great because we want to raise awareness and broaden the outlook that ‘disabilities don’t have to have boundaries.’ Showing that anyone can get involved and encouraging people to take part is what we want to show. ”

 

For more information about taking part in triathlon with a disability, visit our 'Getting into Paratriathlon' page.

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