Britain dominate 2012 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships
Monday, 22 October 2012
October 22 - With Paratriathlon set to make its debut at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, Britain put out an early warning for Brazil as they dominated the competition this weekend to take five of the 12 available gold medals at the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships in Auckland.
In a strong field of 109 athletes from 21 different countries, Britain proved a class apart in the sport's biggest annual competition as victories came from Iain Dawson (pictured top, left) in the men's TRI-6, Matthew Emmerson in the men's TRI-5, Steven Judge in the men's TRI-3, Faye McClelland in the women's TRI-4, and Karen Darke in the women's TRI-1.
The United States and France each won two world titles in the women's TRI-5 and TRI-2, respectively, and the men's TRI-4 and men's TRI-2, respectively, with American Melissa Stockwell, an Iraq war veteran who competed in swimming at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, taking the TRI-2 world title for the third consecutive year.
Meanwhile, Australia, Canada and Spain each took home one gold medal each, while Serbia won its first Paratriathlon medal as Lazar Filipovic claimed silver in the men's TRI-6.
The final table saw the USA finish with the most overall medals with 13, ahead of Britain's nine, however, Britain topped the table by virtue of winning three more gold medals.
The water temperature designated that the swim was reduced from 750 metres to 300m according to the ITU Paratriathlon rules and races started in three waves to complete the rest of the 20 kilometre bike and 5km run.
Australia's Bill Chaffey was the first finisher across the line, claiming his third world title in TRI-1 with a stellar wheelchair leg to roll past America's Andre Kaljich.
Chaffey said afterwards he was worried when his strongest discipline was cut short, but he still managed to pull away.
"I spoke to my coach about it, he gave me a game plan, you know the swim is your strength but you know you have done the work in the bike and the run too as well so you know, he talked me up well and got me through," Chaffey said.
"He basically said, 'don't worry about anyone else,' everyone is worried about you."
Chaffey added he was excited to be part of the sport in the lead into its first Paralympics.
"It just keeps getting bigger and bigger which makes it more and more exciting, it's very strong competition and each year everyone gets better and everyone keeps getting closer," he said.
"I've got to keep doing more work.
"But Rio, that's number one."
Brazil also fielded a strong team, as they build to hosting the event in Rio 2016 and bronze medallist in the men's TRI-6, Rodrigo Feola said all Paralympic sport in Brazil was growing quickly.
"Each year we are growing and growing in many different sports," he said.
"So we have a good expectation for our Paralympic team, we think we will have lots of medals because we are working hard."