Andy Lewis returns to where it all began at home World Cup

British Para triathlete’s first competition was in 2014 at Eton Dorney 27 May 2018
Male triathlete celebrates after winning race

Great Britain's Andrew Lewis won gold in the men's PT2 at Rio 2016, where Para triathlon debuted

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By Adam Bailey | For the IPC

Eton Dorney will be a new venue for the ITU (International Triathlon Union) Para Triathlon World Cup on Monday (28 May), and for Great Britain’s Andy Lewis it is an opportunity to return to where his Para triathlon journey began.

The 35-year-old took part in his first mass participation triathlon at the Arctic One Tri and Para Tri Festival at Eton Dorney in 2014. Four years later, Lewis will stand on the same startline, but this time as Paralympic, world and European PTS2 champion at an ITU World Cup event.

“At that point, I never expected I would go onto achieve what I have done,” Lewis said. “It was a brilliant event to be a part of and to be honest I didn’t know what to except. I had to look online to figure out what the transitions were and how we had to do it and what the rules were, so I have come a long way since then.”

This year the ITU Para Triathlon World Cup has been added to the festival, and it will be the first time Great Britain has hosted an ITU Para triathlon event since 2014.

“It’s brilliant that we now have an ITU race here alongside the festival,” Lewis said. “The event itself has been a long time in the planning, so it’s very exciting to see what was once a dream become a reality. I can’t wait for the British crowds and those taking part in the mass participation events to see what this sport offers.”

Lewis will begin his season in Eton Dorney after a calf injury prevented him from competing in Yokohama earlier this month. The Paralympic, world and European champion is unbeaten in international triathlon since 2015, and he is hoping to continue his winning streak so he can give his biggest fan a medal.

“I always find the first race of the season a bit nerve-racking and there is a bit more pressure on Monday as it will be the first time my family have been able to come and watch me race,” Lewis said. “My four-year-old son knows Daddy swims, bikes and runs, but he doesn’t know what exactly it all means or what I actually do, so I am really excited for him to see me compete.

“I am really hoping that I cross the finish line and get on the podium, so I can give him a medal,” Lewis added.

Home talent heads field

The Eton Dorney World Cup will also see Jade Jones-Hall return to competition after winning gold in the women’s PTWC at this year’s Commonwealth Games. It has been a whirlwind 12 months for the 22-year-old since competing in her first international Para triathlon in Yokohama this time last year.

“I was so nervous ahead of Yokohama as it was such a big event for my first triathlon, but I had the most amazing experience that I was hooked,” Jones-Hall said. “I’ve developed a lot on the swim and bike over the last 12 months, but I could never have imagined the success I have had, especially winning gold at the Commonwealth Games. The whole experience has been amazing.”

During her career as a wheelchair racer, Jones-Hall has competed in front of home crowds on many occasions. But Monday will be her first triathlon in Great Britain, and the opportunity to compete on home soil is something Jones-Hall is looking forward to.

"Some of my favourite memories are competing in front of homes crowds: the London Paralympics, the Europeans in 2014, and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games,” Jones-Hall said. “There really is nothing like competing at home; having a home crowd, loads of people cheering you on and being able to have family and friends there, is really special.”

Jones-Hall will be joined by fellow Commonwealth champion Joe Townsend, who will be looking to continue his good form in the men’s PTWC event.

There will also be a host of international stars competing in Eton Dorney, including PTS5 Paralympic champion, Martin Schulz of Germany.

The 28-year-old will return to competition for the first time since failing to finish at last year’s World Championships, and the German will come-up against Great Britain’s George Peasgood, who will be aiming to repeat his win from the Yokohama World Series earlier this month.

The USA’s Paralympic PTS2 bronze medallist Melissa Stockwell continues her comeback after the birth of her daughter last August, while Germany’s Nora Hansel begins her PTS3 season in Eton Dorney after just missing out on a medal at last year’s World Championships.