Eleven of Britain’s thirteen Rio bound paratriathletes are set to take part in the Rotterdam ITU Paratriathlon World Championships on Sunday (24 July). Defending world champion, Lauren Steadman, will face her toughest test of the season with seven weeks to go until the sport makes its debut at the Paralympic Games in Rio.
Steadman is unbeaten for more than two years, but up-and-coming Grace Norman, USA, was second to her last year and could challenge her in the PT4 event.
Britain’s four current European Champions, Alison Patrick (PT5), Andy Lewis (PT2), Lizzie Tench (PT1) and Steadman are all lining up with good opportunities to add to their medal tallies.
Hosts, the Netherlands, have their powerful PT1 male athletes lining up, but only two of the current six world champions attending. However, the Great Britain team has some clear objectives, as outlined by Head Coach, Jonathon Riall.
He said: “This is an opportunity for Rio bound athletes to practice their race processes and race hard seven weeks out from the games. It’s also an opportunity for staff to reinforce their games time roles.”
He added: “It’s a mixed bag in terms of competition, but that’s understandable at this stage, and we’ll focus on our own performances to get us on track for Rio.”
As well as Britain’s Paralympic athletes competing, the British team features athletes hoping to make their mark in the future. Riall explained: “We see this as an opportunity to kick start our 2020 cycle by integrating a new and exciting group of athletes to the upper level of the British squad and international competition.”
Athletes including Kerry Large, Mark Conway and Bret Crossley will compete in the open waves alongside their more experienced team mates.
Great Britain is sending the largest Paralympic triathlon squad to Rio as the sport makes it’s debut on Copacabana Beach, 10-11 September.
Great Britain team; Rotterdam ITU Paratriathlon World Championships; 750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run; Sunday 24 July:
PT1 Elite: Phil, Hogg, Joe Townsend, Lizzie Tench
PT1 Open: Mark Conway, Bret Crossley
PT2 Elite: Ryan Taylor, Andrew Lewis
PT3 Elite: Cassie Cava