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Jones looks ahead to World Triathlon Para Series Swansea with pride

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With British Triathlon once again bringing the World Triathlon Para Series to Swansea in 2024, Welsh PTVI paratriathlete Rhys Jones has opened up about his home nation pride.

“It was huge. It’s the kind of thing dreams are made of really,” Jones said as he looks back on wearing the Welsh trisuit and finishing fourth at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games. “Last season the aim was to take three minutes off my overall time and the aim is that again. So we’re on track, with the various things that are in place, to make that happen.

“Then it’s about just giving myself the best chance of qualifying for the Paralympic Games. It’s going to be tough, but I think if I can continue to make the progress that I have been I’ll be in the conversation.”

That potential road to Paris brings Jones, who won the first World Triathlon Para Cup of the season in Egypt alongside new guide Malachi Cashmore, to home soil on 22  June with Swansea playing host to the British leg of the World Triathlon Para Series for the third year running.

He explained: “I’d like to race however I can. I think if I can’t get on the start list, I’ll be pushing for whatever race I can, but fingers crossed I can get on the start list through ranking. I raced there in 2022 and it’s a great course and there was a fantastic turn out from the Welsh triathlon fans.”

The fact that this year’s race sits at the end of the qualifying window for the Paralympic Games only adds to the excitement according to Jones.

“I think it’s wonderful. First and foremost, having a World Para Series in the UK, let alone in Wales is a wonderful thing for both grassroots sports and the area.

“We’ve had numerous Welsh triathletes over the years that have been successful, but for that grassroots level to encourage kids to persevere with triathlon and everything that it brings is great.

“It's also testament to Welsh Triathlon and the development squad being led by Luke Watson, who’s my coach in Cardiff, and seeing how that squad has developed over the last few years is incredible and seeing so many athletes coming through.

“On a personal level I feel very lucky to have been able to be a part of that set up. It’s made me a better athlete and I have learnt so much from that.”

“As well as playing host to the World Triathlon Para Series, South Wales also hosts a leg of the British Triathlon Para Super Series. The Super Series is the domestic racing competition that gives classifiable and non-classifiable paratriathletes the opportunity to experience fully accessible competitive racing. In addition to the Super Series races, there are four junior participation races for children aged 8-14 years old.

Jones has been a regular in the series winning twice last year and feels that it plays a vital role for both experienced paratriathletes and those new to the sport.

He said: “The Super Series ticks a lot of boxes. When I came into parasport, there were a few sports I could have gone into, but I think the reason I ended up doing paratriathlon is because of how welcoming the whole set up was and I think part of that is having accessible races.

“That’s in terms of having starts and being able to race but also the infrastructure and being para-friendly in terms of the racecourse, where they are, and the communication around that.

“Once you start racing, the Super Series is incredibly helpful. One, because it ties in with your training and developing tactics and strategies, then also supporting people coming through who are in similar situations to where I was. Knowing that you can race in well-organised, supportive environments is a really important thing.”

To learn more about World Triathlon Para Series Swansea click here. If you're interested in getting involved in paratriathlon, British Triathlon is hosting a paratriathlon talent ID day on 14 April. Click here to learn more.

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