Liisa Lilja ends US dominance with Edmonton win

Finnish Para triathlete claims first victory in final World Series event of the season. 31 Jul 2017
a Para triathlete cycles on a bike

Finland's Liisa Lilja missed six months of 2018 following surgery on an ankle injury

By Adam Bailey | For the IPC

Finland’s Liisa Lilja was victorious at the final World Para Triathlon Series event of the season in Edmonton, Canada, on Friday (28 July) to break the USA’s dominance in the women’s PTS2 class.

The first two World Series events of the year saw US winners in the classification, with Paralympic champion Allysa Seely winning at the opening race in Gold Coast, Australia, in April, before her compatriot Hailey Danz beat Lilja to win in Yokohama, Japan, a month later.

In Edmonton, the top two from Yokohama were reversed as Lilja pulled out a lead in the swim, before extending her advantage on the bike leg.

Danz cut the Finnish Para triathlete’s lead in the run, but Lilja (1:27:10) had built a big enough margin in the opening two disciplines to finish ahead of Danz (1:29:05) by nearly two minutes. Great Britain’s Fran Brown secured bronze in a time of 1:32:59.

The men’s PTS2 race was hotly-contested with France’s Geoffrey Wersy (1:14:48) clinching the victory ahead of Moroccan Mohamed Lahna (1:14:54). Lahna had nearly a two minute lead after the swim, but Wersy cut his lead to 29 seconds after the bike, before overtaking Lahna on the run to take the win.

There was also a close battle for bronze with Spain’s Lionel Morales (1:16:10) holding off the challenge of the Netherlands’ Maurits Morsink (1:16:44) to secure his place on the podium.

Morsink’s compatriot Geert Schipper (1:06:07) repeated his World Series success from Yokohama by winning gold in the men’s PTWC event. Silver went to Great Britain’s Joe Townsend (1:08:36) and bronze to Italy’s Alexandre Paviza (1:11:12).

Another athlete to win a second World Series event of the season was Australia’s Emily Tapp in the women’s PTWC race. The Gold Coast winner completed the Edmonton course in a time of 1:23:07, with the Netherlands’ Margret Ijdema (1:39:26) finishing second.

Great Britain’s Ryan Taylor (1:13:39) beat Spain’s Joaquin Carrasco (1:20:56) to win the men’s PTS3 category. There was also a British winner in the men’s PTS4 event as Steven Crowley (1:07:44) secured gold ahead of Japan’s Hideki Uda (1:12:34) and the USA’s Joel Rosinbum (1:13:02).

Japan’s Mami Tani followed up her win in Yokohama with victory in the women’s PTS4 category. Tani (1:22:29) finished ahead of Gold Coast winner and two-time world champion Sally Pilbeam (1:25:33) to seal the win.

Another win for Daniel

Stefan Daniel impressed on home soil, winning the men’s PTS5 event. There was just one second separating the Canadian and Great Britain’s George Peasgood after transition two, but Daniel pulled away on the run to win in a time of 1:00:04. Peasgood (1:05:51) finished second and Brazil’s Carlos Rafael Viana (1:07:06) completed the podium.

Paralympic gold medallist Grace Norman (1:10:44) beat Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman (1:12:12) in their first meeting since Rio 2016 to take gold in the women’s PTS5 race. Bronze was claimed by Australia’s Kate Doughty (1:13:56).

The USA’s Aaron Scheidies continued his dominance in the men’s PTVI event. Scheidies (1:04:09) finished ahead of Great Britain’s David Ellis (1:06:08) and France’s Arnaud Grandjean (1:10:22) to extend his winning streak.

The women’s PTVI race was won by Australia’s Katie Kelly (1:13:03) as she crossed the line ahead of the USA pair of Elizabeth Baker (1:16:00) and Amy Dixon (1:18:31).

Complete results from the 2017 Edmonton ITU World Para Triathlon Series can be found on the International Triathlon Union’s website.