Former world champion Clare Cunningham delivered gold in the Tri 4 category last weekend as the largest ever field raced at the 2011 Tata Steel British Paratriathlon Championships in Nottingham.
Clare who finished in a time of 01:16.50 was delighted to finish top of the podium, although disappointed she could not resume her rivalry with current world champion Faye McClelland who pulled out due to a recent injury: “I won the Tri 4 class; unfortunately Faye wasn’t racing this year. When you race at the British Championships, you want to race the best. I am really pleased though, it’s the first race of the season, and I am really pleased to have come through it. I have learnt a lot to take forward into the major championships this season.”
In second place behind Clare, was a newcomer to the sport, Lauren Steadman. Aged just 17 years old, she finished just over three minutes behind the former world champion, with a time of 01:20.12. Lauren came into the sport following the successful bid for Paralympic inclusion and will be an exciting prospect as the sport builds to Rio 2016.
Alan Rayment, who finished second in the Tri 1 category behind David Cooke, was impressed with the event and his race commenting: “I really enjoyed it, I had a personal best on the swim, I got that down to 17 minutes 4 second and really enjoyed the bike. Overall it was a fantastic event.”
Alan who is a member of the new British Triathlon World Class Paratriathlon Programmes affiliate squad was excited about new athletes coming into the sport adding: “I do believe we have a great team of athletes at the moment and look forward to the challenge of other athletes joining us.”
Jonathon Riall, National Paratriathlon Manager at British Triathlon was happy commenting: “It’s been a really good start to the first race of the season, we had a few athletes missing due to injuries, but we had some really, really promising performances. Haseeb Ahmad’s win in the visually impaired class, overtaking Iain [Dawson], who is world champion, is a really good sign for the season.
“Clare Cunningham who was 2009 world champion had a very strong race but was closely followed by 17 year-old girl Lauren Steadman who had a fantastic race. Overall, we have had some fantastic results, a very good first race for the season and I am looking forward to see how the rest of the year goes.”