Middlesbrough’s Jade Jones-Hall made it paratriathlon double gold for England as she took the Commonwealth title on the Gold Coast.
Ausssie Lauren Parker was the first out of the water, almost two minutes ahead the rest of the women’s field, leaving her with enough clear air to hit the handbike section in first and stay there until T2.
Her teammate, world champion Emily Tapp worked hard to chase her and help secure the top medal positions for the home team.
Because of the staggered start, where PTWC 2 (least impaired wheelchair users) athletes started 3.58 minutes behind PTWC 1 athletes, England’s Jones-Hall exited the water in third place, 3.37 behind Parker, but still recorded the fastest swim.
She soon overtook Tapp on the cycle, before capitalising on Parker’s demise on the final leg.
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With the crowd cheering her home, Jones, the T54 1,500m bronze medallist at Glasgow 2014, clinched the historic first Commonwealth Games women’s paratriathlon gold medal, with the two Aussies, Tapp and Parker, finishing behind her, to mirror the podium for the men’s event.
“I was always chasing, which is tough mentally, but to push through was great,” said Jones-Hall at the finish. “I swam really well and I’ve been working on my swimming for the past six months.
“Anybody who knows me knows how much this means to me. I have only been doing paratriathlon for 18 months, and although I’ve made a lot of improvements, I still have a long way to go.”
“I loved hearing the roar of the crowd when I was coming in at the end there, and to see all my family and friends supporting me”, explained silver medallist, Tapp.
“I’m so happy with my performance, so stoked with bronze today”, said Parker, who suffered an accident that left her in a wheelchair less than a year ago.
“I like being chased and getting to pull away and get in front. I mean, I had a moment at the end there (Parker tipped over coming into the winning straight) but you just have to keep going. I have a lot to improve on, but overall I’m so stoked with my performance”.
Top image: Delly Carr/ITU Media