Sports week: to watch for para-triathlon

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Para triathlon will make its second Paralympic Games appearance in Tokyo 2020 and feature a mix of reigning champions and newcomers all hoping to swim, cycle and run to cross the finish line first.

Lauren Parker (AUS)

Former Ironman Parker competitor will make her Paralympic debut in Tokyo. She was involved in a serious bicycle accident in 2017, but that did not prevent her from returning to the sport when she discovered para triathlon. A few months later, she won a bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She has since become the PTWC World No.1 and is the current World Champion. The Maori phrase of the indigenous Polynesian people “Kia Kaha” is tattooed on his forearm, which means “Forever Strong”.

© Getty

Hector Catala Laparra (ESP)

Another Games debutant in sport, Catala started his triathlon career in 2014. He is now ranked No.2 in the men’s PTVI class, which is a new addition to the schedule at Tokyo 2020. The Spaniard has shown gradual progression. over the years. and peaks at the right time. He took seventh place at his first World Championships in 2015, narrowly missed the podium in 2017, but followed up with bronze the following year. Then in 2019 Catala celebrated the biggest achievement of his athletic career with gold and he hopes to celebrate something bigger in Tokyo. He lives by the motto his father taught him: “Whatever you do, don’t do it halfway. “

© World Triathlon / Delly Carr

Fran Brown (GBR)

The 2019 Women’s PTS2 World and European Champion is also a former Para-Climbing World Champion. She took up para-triathlon to supplement her climbing training, but then moved into full-time sport in pursuit of a Paralympic title. Another Games debutant, Brown – who is also a physiotherapist and sessional musician – took inspiration from the lyrics of the hit musical Hamilton and wrote the lyrics to “Not throwing my shot” on her bike.

© World Triathlon / Ben Lumpley

Stefan Daniel (CAN)

Daniel won his first World Championships medal in 2013 at 16 and has only gotten stronger. In 2014, he won silver and then won his first world title in 2015 against German rival Martin Schulz to stage a thrilling showdown in the sport’s Paralympic debut the following year. But it wasn’t meant to be, as Schultz took the tape and the gold. However, the Canadian won the next three titles at the World Championships to put him in a strong position for redemption in the PTS5 class at Tokyo 2020. Daniel actually comes from a family of athletes. His father competed in Ironman competitions, his mother ran marathons and his brother Christian swam for the Canadian Paralympic team.

© Getty

Kelly Elmlinger (United States)

Former Army Nurse Elmlinger is coming to the Games with victories at the U.S. Championships and this year’s World Series competitions. A PTS4 athlete, she will compete in a combined PTS5 class at Tokyo 2020 and her momentum can certainly make her a dark horse on the podium. Before entering the sport after losing a leg to cancer, Elmlinger worked with servicemen and women recovering from amputations and burns.

© World Triathlon

Hideki Uda (JPN)

Making his home Games debut, Uda is currently ranked fourth in a super competitive PTS4 class and is one of Asia’s strongest para-triathletes. Having competed on the world triathlon scene since 2013, Uda has worked so long to overcome the fourth place hump; he narrowly missed the podiums at the 2019, 2018 and 2017 world championships. But that only made him hungrier. In May, Uda carried the Olympic torch to Koka City as part of his tour of Japan ahead of the Games.

Uda (right) © World Triathlon / Tommy Zaferes

Lauren Steadman (GBR)

Former Paralympic swimmer Parker will compete in her fourth Games in Tokyo and will look to improve on the silver medal she won at the 2016 Paralympic Games. The entry of the two-time world champion and six-time European champion in the sport came about after his uncle, himself a triathlete, suggested that he give it a try. Big favorite in the PTS5 women’s event, she also spent her offseason on the British television show “Strictly Come Dancing” where she was a semi-finalist.

© World Triathlon

Alexis Hanquinquant (FRA)

A former basketball player and mixed martial arts fighter, Hanquinquant lost his right leg after an accident at work and subsequent surgeries. A natural athlete, the Frenchman has found a way to challenge himself by targeting success in para triathlon. Now double world and European champion in 2017 and 2018, Hanquinquant travels to Tokyo following a series of victories in the Para Triathlon World Cup and the 2021 Para Series. He hopes to win gold in the class. Men’s PTS4 in his Paralympic debut.

© World Triathlon / Delly Carr

Susana Rodriguez Gacio (ESP)

After an intense year at the forefront of Spain’s response to COVID-19, hospital rehabilitation specialist Gacio made the decision to become a full-time athlete again in September 2020. She finished fifth at Rio 2016, but left from these Games to reclaim two world titles in 2018 and 2020 and hopes to bring that to a Paralympic title in Tokyo in the women’s PTVI event. After the Games, Rodriguez can’t wait to get down to business with his new guide dog, Yellow, named after the famous Coldplay song.

© World Triathlon

Jetze dish (NED)

Unbeaten in the PTWC class since 2016, Plat is arguably the greatest para-triathlete of all. He’s been a world champion every year since 2015, won gold at Rio 2016 and also competes in the road cycling race. The Dutchman was born without ligaments in his left knee and with a shorter left leg. He is also missing bones in his right leg, the lower part of which was amputated in 2008. But these did not prevent him from excelling in the sport, in which he started triathlon at 13.

© World Triathlon / Delly Carr


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