Great Britain’s paratriathlon team won a stunning six gold medals at the ETU Paratriathlon European Championships in Kitzbuhel. That included a win for Paralympic champion, Andy Lewis and there were an additional two silver and two bronze medals won by the British team.
All of Britain’s Rio medal winners were in action in wet conditions in Kitzbuhel as well as some up-and-coming athletes who were racing at their first major championship. They returned what Head Coach, Jonathon Riall described as ‘fantastic’.
He added: “I think that’s as many titles as we’ve ever won at a championship. To have really quite a developmental team, still with people who are only two, three years into the sport, some of them a lot younger, is just fantastic.”
Lewis said: “I’m really happy with the result, to regain my title from last year, yeah, I’m really happy.”
Rio silver medalist, Lauren Steadman returned to competition and won gold after completing her University dissertation, she said: “I’ve had seven months off since Rio, so I was a bit nervous about how it was going to be. It’s been a long time off, so it’s really good to be back.”
Jade Jones, who is setting national records on the athletics track was surprised to win gold in the wheelchair class. She said: “It was exciting and I’m really happy with it. The cross training seems to be working!”
Visually impaired athlete, Dave Ellis competed with Carl Shaw guiding him to gold after a break of three years away from the sport. He said: “It’s great to be back in and winning.”
Another gold medal winner in the visually impaired class was Melissa Reid, who was guided by Hazel McLeod. Team mate, Alison Patrick had a puncture, which halted her progress. Despite running really well, she finished in fourth place, just missing out on a medal.
The final gold medal winner was Cassie Cava, a member of the national snowboarding squad showing that she’s got potential in summer Paralympic sport as well as winter.
Silver medals were won by Steve Crowley and Fran Brown. Karen Darke and George Peasgood won bronze. Peasgood was the youngest member of the British Paratriathlon team in Rio, and won his first ever championship medal today. He said: “I had a little bit of a tear coming across the line. The run’s been the main focus in the last year after Rio, and it’s shown how much I’ve improved.”
Pictures – British Triathlon / ©James Mitchell