Great Britain’s paratriathletes opened the 2018 season in style, winning three golds, a silver and three bronze medals in the first ITU World Paratriatlon Series event in Yokohama, Japan. Paralympic silver medallist, Lauren Steadman, was among the gold medallists alongside George Peasgood and Dave Ellis.
Steadman turned the tables on the Paralympic Champion, Grace Norman (USA) to win the women’s PTS5 category. After exiting the swim together, Steadman created a significant gap on the bike which she held to the finish. Steadman took the win from Norman for the first time in over two years, commenting: “I’m really pleased to be back on top of the podium, it’s been a while! I wasn’t sure how the first race of the season would go. It sets me up nicely for the season ahead.”
In the men’s PTS5 category, George Peasgood won his first WPS, with a gun to tape victory, just a week after winning silver in the road time trial in the para cycling World Cup in Ostend, Belgium. Consistently the fastest swim-biker, Peasgood managed to hold off the fast runners in the field.
Peasgood said: “It was awesome to come out here and perform as well as I did. I’ve had a tough few weeks travelling and racing so my legs didn’t feel too fresh but I’m in good shape. Being a swim-biker, it’s always going to come down to the chase on the run but thankfully I held off today.”
There was a third gold for the British team as Dave Ellis, guided by Carl Shaw, won his second consecutive WPS Yokohama in the men’s PTVI category. Ellis commented: “It’s a great start to the season and I’m very happy to be back on top of the podium. It was good to be quicker in all elements of the race, producing a time two minutes quicker than last year.”
In the PTS3 category, Ryan Taylor won the silver medal. He exited the water in the lead but was unable to hold off Justin Godfrey (AUS) on the bike. Taylor commented: “I tried a new warm up today which worked well with my best swim. I’m disappointed with my bike but I had a good run and happy with my overall performance.”
Commonwealth Games Champion, Joe Townsend, continued to demonstrate great form, winning the bronze medal in the men’s PTWC category, in a world class field, which included all the Paralympic medallists from Rio. There were also bronze medals for Fran Brown in the women’s PTS2 and Steve Crowley in the men’s PTS4 categories.
Jonathon Riall, Paralympic Head Coach, was delighted with the overall team performance: “It’s been a super start to the season with some real steps forward for the team. It has been a winter full of effort, change and challenge, which seems to have helped move things forward. All athletes medalling gives a real buzz to the day.”
In his final race as British Triathlon Performance Director, Brendan Purcell was full of praise for the squad, commenting: “To get everyone on the podium is testament to Jonny Riall’s hard work getting them into the right mindset when there is uncertainty about which categories will go forward to the Paralympics. Our team just got on with it and delivered an excellent set of results.”
The next major paratriathlon event takes place in two weeks with the ITU Paratriathlon World Cup at Eton Dorney on 28 May. Start lists are available HERE.