A first ever triathlon can be a daunting experience, but British wheelchair racer Jade Jones is relishing the challenge as she prepares to compete in her first Para triathlon at the International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Para triathlon Series in Yokohama, Japan.
Jones, who has competed on the track in the last two Paralympic Games, has wanted to try the sport for a number of years. After watching it make its Paralympics debut in Rio 2016, she decided to try it out.
“Triathlon is something I've always wanted to have a go at and after Rio I thought it would be a good time for a new challenge,” Jones said. “It's been hard to learn completely new disciplines from scratch but it's also been a lot of fun to try something new.”
The 21-year-old only began swim training in November 2016 and her preparation has seen her continue to break records on the track. Jones broke the British 10,000m record last weekend, just a few weeks after setting a personal best in the Boston Marathon and a fifth-place finish at the London Marathon.
“I'm really pleased with my build-up for the race,” Jones said. “The endurance events, such as a marathon in the race chair, really cross over with my triathlon training in terms of fitness. My training has been going well so I am looking to put in a strong performance and see where I go from there.”
Jones will put all her training and preparation to the test when she competes in the PTHC class in Yokohama alongside her compatriot Lizzie Tench. Jones said she is looking forward to competing in her first triathlon “without any pressure or expectations.”
When asked about her aims, Jones said: “I'm currently looking to do both track/road and Para triathlon. The training crosses over really well so I don't feel any pressure to choose between the two right now. I'm excited to see how the season goes.”
Seeing her compatriot Andy Lewis win gold in Rio was especially encouraging, and Lewis will be hoping to start his season with a win in the men’s PTS2 category, as will the Netherlands’ Geert Schipper in the men’s PTHC class.
The USA’s Allysa Seely (PTS2) will be looking to continue their dominance after coming off Paralympic gold.
Her compatriot Chris Hammer will be hoping to make it two wins out of two by following up his victory from the World Series opening race in Gold Coast, Australia, in what looks set to be a hotly-contested men’s PTS5 race.
Australian Kate Doughty will be looking to repeat her PT4 success from last year in the newly-formed PTS5 classification. Japan’s Ryu Nakazawa will give the host nation something to cheer for as he looks to defend his PTVI title in Yokohama. But he faces competition from Spain’s Hector Catala Laparra, who captured bronze at last year’s World Championships. British pair Alison Patrick and Melissa Reid will renew their rivalry in the women’s PTVI class.
The Yokohama ITU Para Triathlon World Series will be live streamed at triathlonlive.tv/yokohama and World Triathlon's Facebook page. The competition can also be followed with the hashtags #WTSYokohama and #paratriathlon on Twitter and Facebook.