British Triathlon have named their squad for 2016 ©British Triathlon

British Triathlon has named a squad of 15 for their World Class Performance Programme for the forthcoming year, as they seek success at next year's Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro when the sport makes its debut at the Games. 

The British team have been tipped to do well in the Brazilian city after earning several World Championship medals in previous years.

PT4 athlete Lauren Steadman successfully defended her women’s world title after crushing the field in Edmonton, Canada, earlier this year, and the Rio 2016 test event winner will be confident of adding to her medal tally in the summer.

The 22-year-old had succeeded Faye McClelland as the dominant force in the classification, with her team-mate having earned four straight victories between 2010 and 2013.

Also named in the squad are the 2013 and 2014 PT5 world champions in Melissa Reid and Alison Patrick respectively, as well as Clare Cunningham, winner of the women’s PT4 world title in 2009.

The women’s squad is completed by PT5 guides Grace France, Hazel Smith and Nicole Walters.

Lauren Steadman claimed test event gold in Rio and will be hopeful of repeating the feat in 2016
Lauren Steadman claimed test event gold in Rio and will be hopeful of repeating the feat in 2016 ©Getty Images

Each of the athletes are set to be financially supported by 2016 UK Sport Lottery funding throughout the year.

British Triathlon, however, believe the focus should also be on the build up to Tokyo 2020 as well.

“We have a major focus on Rio’s Copacabana Beach next summer for the Olympic and Paralympic triathlon events, but this is also year zero of our Tokyo 2020 cycle,” said Brendan Purcell, British Triathlon performance director.

“We have distinct groups of athletes now; those working towards Rio, and those looking further into the future.

“We’ve got a successful group of athletes, who are being supported by a very strong group of coaches and specialist practitioners.

“We’re really grateful for the support from UK Sport and everyone who buys a lottery ticket each week.”

The men’s team consists of PT4 athletes David Hill, George Peasgood and Stefan Hoggan, as well as PT2 competitors Ryan Taylor and Andrew Lewis.

The list is completed by Tri1 competitor Phil Hogg and PT1 class athlete Joe Townsend.