Alison Patrick and Andy Lewis have been crowned ITU Paratriathlon world champions in Rotterdam. The Great Britain team also won a silver and bronze medal, but saw Lauren Steadman crash out on the bike with seven weeks to go until the sport makes it’s debut at the Rio Paralympic Games.
Patrick won gold in the PT5 event for visually impaired athletes, guided by Hazel Smith. The 28 year-old former physiotherapist from Dunfermline won the world title in 2014, her first year in the sport. She narrowly lost out last year, but today won it back. She finished ahead of Joleen Hakker (NED). Melissa Reid, guided by Nicole Walters, finished third.
Andy Lewis added world to the European gold that he won in May, gaining his first ever world title in the PT2 category. It was a convincing win by more than two minutes from Mark Barr (USA) for the through-the-knee amputee from Gloucestershire.
Lizzie Tench won silver in the women’s PT1 event for wheelchair users. Whilst this category is included for men, it’s not included for women in Rio. It could be included in future Paralympic Games. Tench also won gold at the European Championships.
Lauren Steadman crashed during the bike leg and saw Grace Norman, potentially her biggest rival in Rio, claim the gold medal. Steadman was taken to hospital for checks, but it is not suspected that she has any broken bones. Her team mate, Faye McClelland, was in a strong position but made a mistake during the bike leg which cost her a potential medal.
Head coach, Jonathon Riall, commented: “It was a great race from Andy, and a really solid performance by Alison and Hazel. We should take the time to celebrate two new world champions and some good progress made, but we are not going to read too much into these results, the course is very different to Rio.”
The classes included in Rio are PT1, PT2 and PT4 for men and PT2, PT4 and PT5 for women. Paratriathlon has never previously been included in the Paralympic Games, and will make a spectacular debut on Copacabana Beach in September.
Results (selected and GB); Rotterdam ITU Paratriathlon World Championships; 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run:
1. Jetze Plat, NED, 1:00:01
2. Krige Schabort, USA, 1:01:46
3. Geert Schipper, NED, 1:02:51
5. Joseph Townsend, GBR, 1:05:12
6. Phil Hogg, GBR, 1:07:46
1. Kendall Gretsch, USA, 1:18:04
2. Lizzie Tench, GBR, 1:23:42
3. Eva María Moral Pedrero, ESP, 1:24:39
1. Manon Genest, FRA, 1:20:00
2. Sally Pilbeam, AUS, 1:22:03
3. Kerryn Harvey, AUS, 1:23:15
7. Cassie Cava, GBR, 1:38:42