New talents showcased ahead of Tokyo as sport continues to grow
Ahead of the sport’s second Paralympic Games appearance at Tokyo 2020, here is a look back at seven takeaways from Para triathlon in 2018:
Sport continues to grow
The year has seen more events and more athletes in international triathlon than ever before.
More than 250 athletes representing 39 different countries have competed across a revamped calendar; including three World Series events and eight World Cups across four different continents.
The sport also made its Commonwealth Games debut on the Gold Coast where England enjoyed double success with Joe Townsend and Jade Jones securing gold in the men’s and women’s PTWC events, respectively.
New faces, new pressure
Sixty athletes made their international debuts in 2018, while 29 recorded their first victories on the world stage.
One of the standout season debuts belongs to Great Britain’s Hannah Moore, who won the PTS4 world title, just three months after making her first international appearance.
Rising stars Fran Brown (PTS2, Great Britain), Kamylle Frenette (PTS5, Canada), Ahalya Lettenberger (PTWC, USA) have all shown promising form in 2018.
The USA’s Mark Barr had a year to remember, and it might just be the break he needs ahead of Tokyo 2020.
Six years and six World Championships after making his debut in 2012, Barr finally fulfilled his dream of becoming world champion.
Spain’s Susana Rodriguez also ended a six-year wait; winning her second world title on the Gold Coast; six years after her first world gold.
Daniel is back
Canada’s Stefan Daniel ended the year as a triple world champion.
September saw the 21-year-old complete a hat-trick of world titles as he successfully retained his gold ahead of German rival and Paralympic champion Martin Schulz.
But, with Great Britain’s George Peasgood, Spain’s Jairo Ruiz Lopez and France’s Yannick Bourseaux all closing the gap on the pair, the battle ahead of Tokyo 2020 will certainly be entertaining.
Steadman waltzes on
Of all the transitions Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman has done in her career, swapping the swim, bike and run for the ballroom of British TV show “Strictly Come Dancing” is arguably the most unusual – and perhaps toughest – yet.
Steadman has, however, looked just as natural on the dance floor as she has competing in triathlon this year; ending 2018 unbeaten in international races, including a return to the top of the World Championship podium.
Plat pure perfection
Unbeaten since September 2015, Jetze Plat has become a dominant force. Despite the increased competitiveness in the men’s PTWC this year, the 27-year-old Dutchman has showed no signs of slowing down.
Just three weeks after winning two gold medals at the 2018 Para Cycling Road World Championships, Plat was back at the top of a Worlds podium, winning his third world title in the sport.
Women’s PTWC battle hots-up
Australia’s Emily Tapp won back-to-back world titles, but this year has shown the competition in the women’s PTWC class remains fierce.
Japan’s Wakako Tsuchida and Australia’s Lauren Parker both joined Tapp on the Gold Coast podium to round off brilliant seasons; winning two international events each. Great Britain’s Jade Jones continued her confident start, winning Commonwealth gold.
The USA’s Kendall Gretsch made a winning comeback to the sport following double gold on the snow in PyeongChang, while Germany’s Christiane Reppe impressed on her debut after international success in both swimming and cycling.
With the women’s PTWC event added to the Paralympic programme, the competition is likely to get even more competitive as 2020 gets closer.