By James Crook

AndrekajlichJanuary 29 - World Championship medallists Patricia Walsh and Andre Kajlich (pictured) have been named as the 2012 USA Paratriathlon Athletes of the Year.

Kajlich, currently ranked world number one in the TRI-1 category, won the handcycle event at the 2012 Ironman World Championship and Ironman 70.3 World Championship after gaining an honourable mention for Paratriathlete of the Year in 2011.

He was a runner-up finisher at USA Paratriathlon Nationals and the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Paratriathlon World Championships and won gold at the 2012 PATCO Paratriathlon Championships.

Walsh, also ranked world number one in her category, TRI-6, took victory at the 2012 USA Paratriathlon National Championships and the PATCO Paratriathlon Championships, as well as winning bronze at the 2012 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships.

d03ba28965474d7ab5f7146dea4e30c5Patricia Walsh has won the women's Paratriathlon Athlete of the Year

"On behalf of USA Triathlon, I'd like to congratulate our USA Paratriathlon Athletes of the Year, Patricia Walsh and Andre Kajlich, as well as all of our inspirational paratriathletes for an amazing 2012 season," said USA Triathlon Paratriathlon programme manager, Amanda Duke.

"We enjoyed outstanding performances in domestic and international competition and look forward to introducing more athletes to our sport as we build toward Paralympic inclusion in 2016."

Honourable mentions in the men's award went to TRI-5 competitor Jamie Brown and Matt Perkins in the TRI-2 category.

In the women's award, honourable mentions went to Patricia Collins of the TRI-5 category and Melissa Stockwell in the TRI-2 category.

The paratriathlon is set to make its first appearance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and will consist of 750 metre swim, a 20 kilometres cycle and a 5km road race. 

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