Four of Britain’s top paratriathletes will be racing at the third World Paratriathlon Event of 2015 in Madrid this Sunday (10 May), where they’ll face stiff competition from some of the world’s best.
Joe Townsend goes in the Men’s PT1 race (category definitions below) to open his 2015 international season following shoulder surgery. The 2015 British Paraduathlon Champion will face tough competition from Bill Chaffey, the Australian who is undefeated since 2010, and reigning world bronze medallist Geert Schipper (NED).
In the Men’s PT2 race, Andy Lewis is up against ITU World Paratriathlon Champion, Vasily Egorov (RUS). Lewis started his season well with a win in Buffalo City in March, but Egorov is yet to race internationally this year, so it’s all to play for.
James Smith goes for Great Britain in the Men’s PT3 event, whilst sole British female, Melissa Reid, tests her fitness in the Women’s PT5 race. She’ll face Spaniard, Susana Rodriguez, who has been a regular international medal winner, including having won the ETU European title last summer.
Following the 750m swim, the 21km bike course is famously hilly and technical, forcing athletes to work hard to maintain pace around the three-lap circuit. Being almost totally flat, the 5.2km run course will provide a fast final stage.
Madrid is the third of ten rounds of the ITU World Paratriathlon Event series. The rounds offer ranking points that help qualify starting slots at major Championship events.
However, it is the British Paratriathlon Championships in Llanelli next weekend (16 May) that will decide which British athletes will be allocated British entry slots at events including the ITU World Championships in Chicago in September.
Paratriathlon sport class definitions
PT1 – Wheelchair users. Athletes use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment.
PT2 – Athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athethosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.
PT3 – As above with less severe impairment.
PT5 – total or partial visual impairment competes with a guide.
(Images: British Triathlon / James Mitchell)