Hot and humid conditions could not stop Lauren Parker from showing off her form ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic.
The home favourite lived up to her reputation by capturing back-to-back Oceania Para Triathlon Championship titles in Newcastle, Australia, on 26 January.
The PTWC athlete entertained a lively and vocal home crowd with an impressive performance.
She took an assertive lead in the 750m swim and established a three-minute gap over Commonwealth Games teammate Emily Tapp by the end of the 20km bike, before going on to a 1:13:43 win. Aussie Sara Tait claimed third after an unfortunate mechanical on the bike.
“I just felt great out there on course, I had so many supporters out there and I just really loved it,” said Parker while speaking to Triathlon Australia.
“It’s so good to now have two major races in Australia this year, with Newcastle today and Devonport in four weeks’ time.
“For Devonport to be a [World Paratriathlon Series race] is just so good for Australia. We get all the international racers coming over and it will be great competition there.
“I hope to back up all my races this year. Getting the win today was awesome, and I hope to back up the win in Devonport, and take the win at the World Championships in Milan in May, leading into the Tokyo Paralympics.”
Australian athletes shined throughout their home Championships.
Clint Pickin made his intentions clear for the 2020 season by putting together a standout performance to take home the men’s PTS4.
Fighting hard to keep a gap on Liam Twomey, Pickin strung together a strong swim, bike and run to take home his third consecutive Oceania title in 1:09:18, with Twomey not far behind (1:11:43). Dean Mchardie was third.
It was a similar affair in the men’s PTS5 class, with only moments separating David Bryant, Andrew Wilkinson and Joshua Kassulke.
Bryant put himself in pole position with a three-minute gap over Wilkinson heading onto the run. Maintaining pace, Bryant sprinted home for the title in 1:04:36.
Jonathan Goerlach kicked off his 2020 season with a confidence boosting win in the PTVI class. Taking on Para triathlon stalwart Gerrad Gosens and international debutant Trevor Murphy, Goerlach blitzed through all three segments to take the win in 1:03:55, ahead of runner-up Gosens and then Murphy.
In the women’s PTS5 Kate Naess (formerly Doughty) notched up her first win of the season with a time of 1:13:12.
Katie Kelly secured her first victory of the 2020 season, taking a clear win over New Zealand’s Shannon Cleave in the women’s PTVI.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nic Beveridge, Glen Jarvis and international debutant Jeremy Peacock got their seasons off to flying starts, securing the top of the podiums in the PTWC, PTS2 and PTS3 classes, respectively.
Complete results from the Oceania Para Triathlon Championships are on the International Triathlon Union’s website.