I’ve qualified for the 2019 Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, having won my division last year-but I’m not going to accept my place! Last August, whilst I was training for my second attempt at Kona, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) announced that the female Paratriathlon wheelchair athletes (PTWC) would have a medal event for the first time at the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020. Paratriathlon debuted at the Rio Paralympics in 2016.
I first competed in Elite ITU Paratriathlon in 2011 where I won two silver medals at both European and World level. In 2012 I won a bronze medal at the World Championships, but without a focus of a Paralympic Games in my sport, I decided to fulfil my ambition to be an Ironman. Although I experienced a few hiccups along the way, I finally achieved my dream.
I’ve obviously trained for the past two years at Long Course Triathlon but this year my training has changed radically. The Paratriathlon is contested in Sprint format, consisting of a 750m swim, 20km bike (hand bike), 5km run (racing wheelchair) so the pace is so much faster. The number of women competing has increased dramatically since I started and the standard also has, so I’m curious to see where I might place. I’m hopeful that all my aerobic training will pay dividends!
The qualification period for the Tokyo Paralympics begins in June and there are world Paratriathlon series races in Milan, Yokohama, Montreal, Edmonton and Lausanne this year. I have no idea how I will be able to participate just yet, but an opportunity of qualifying for a Paralympics and potentially being a Gold medalist is driving me.
At the moment I am concentrating on improving my skills and speed in all three disciplines but am trying to fundraise for a replacement racing wheelchair. If you’d like to donate to my fundraising page, and help me achieve my sporting goals, the link is below: