Australia will send a four-strong team into Sunday’s World Paratriathlon Event in Detroit, USA in the lead up to this year’s ITU World Championships and next year’s Rio Paralympics.
The team includes PT4 athletes, 2012 London Paralympic track and field representative Jack Swift and former Australian para-equestrian star Kate Doughty as well as PT1 wheelchair athletes Emily Tapp and Nic Beveridge.
Swift, who lost his right leg in a work accident in 2006, hasn’t raced internationally since winning the Sunshine Coast WPE in March.
He has put in a big block of training through the tough Melbourne winter to ensure he is competitive at the Rio Paralympic Games next year.
Swift will face strong competition from a number of athletes who raced in the Rio test Event two weeks ago, including Chris Hammer (USA) the 2014 World Championships bronze medallist, George Peasgood (GBR) and Jose Estrada Sierra (MEX).
Doughty, who represented Australia in Equestrian sports until taking up triathlon last year, faces a strong field to race including Grace Norman (USA) and Chantal Givens (CAN) who were second and fourth in the Rio WPE.
The Yokohama WPE winner, who was born without her right hand, came to triathlon following identification through the APC Performance Talent Program as an athlete with great potential in the sport.
She will be up against Clare Cunningham (GBR) who was the bronze medallist at the 2014 World Championships.
Meanwhile, Emily Tapp (PT4) will race 2014 World Champion, the unbeaten Kendall Gretsch (USA), who will provide a strong challenge for Emily, who only started racing this year.
Tapp fell from her horse in a camp drafting accident in 2011, leaving her a paraplegic, also has never been beaten and her recent wins include the Yokohama and Sunshine Coast WPEs.
These two young athletes, both in their early 20s, will be the top contenders for the World Championship title in Chicago next month.
Nic Beveridge (PT4) whose life changed in 2003 when he mysteriously collapsed at home, leaving him a paraplegic, faces a field without any of the world top five, but with several seasoned competitors including Fernando Aranha (Brazil), and Alexander Paviza (FRA) who were top 10 in the Rio WPE two weeks ago to challenge him.
Having recently relocated to Canberra from Brisbane to work more closely with his coach, Corey Bacon, Nic is hoping to improve his world ranking and qualify for the Rio Paralympic Games.
The foursome will be going to Orlando, Florida after the race to do their final preparation for Chicago.
Vision impaired athletes Katie Kelly and her guide former ITU world champion and Sydney Olympic silver medallist Michellie Jones and Jonathan Goerlach and Daudi Somi (Jono’s guide) will join them.
The Australian team will all do a local race in Florida on September 6, before going into Chicago on September 14.
All the athletes are coached by Corey Bacon.
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