A full contingent of Australian paratriathletes, including World Champions and Commonwealth Games medallists are set to headline the Paratriathlon Oceania Championships in Newcastle this weekend.
With Tokyo 2020 looming on the horizon, the Oceania Championships will draw some of Australia’s top paratriathlon talent to Newcastle’s shores as those with Paralympic aspirations set out to secure key qualification points and kick start their 2020 season.
The 2019 edition of the event will see reigning 2019 PTWC World Champion and Novocastrian Lauren Parker (PTWC) head back to her roots to open her 2020 racing account in front of a home crowd.
Speaking to Triathlon Australia, Parker said that she’s looking forward to ripping into the 2020 season after a solid training block.
“It was a huge thrill racing in front of family and friends at last year's event, and it’s great that the Oceania Championships are returning,” Parker said.
“To race well and get the win in this event last year really gave me a lot of confidence for the season to follow.”
“I'll definitely be looking to recreate that success on race day and kick off what is set to be a massive year, leading up to the Tokyo Paralympics in August.”
“I've received so much support from people in the Newcastle and Hunter community over the past couple of years in particular. So it is great to get the opportunity to show off our sport locally, and hopefully give those supporters plenty to cheer for.”
Joining Parker in Newcastle will be a host of experienced paratriathletes, including 2016 Paralympic Gold medallist Katie Kelly (PTVI), and Commonwealth Games medallists Emily Tapp (PTWC) and Nic Beveridge (PTWC).
Parker and Tapp will find themselves amongst friendly faces in Sunday’s racing, with 2018 Commonwealth Games teammate Sara Tait set to join them on the field of play in the PTWC class.
Rio Paralympian Kate Naess (nee Doughty) (PTS5) will take to the starting line in Newcastle as she continues her bid for selection to her second Paralympic team, following a highly successful 2019 season for the Melbourne mother.
Racing alongside Naess in the PTS5 class will be relative newcomer Molly Wallace. 16-year old Wallace made her ITU debut at the 2019 event, taking home second to Naess, before going on to secure podium finishes at both the Devonport and Besancon World Cups.
Jonathan Goerlach leads the charge in the PTVI class. Coming off the back of a consistent 2019 season, Goerlach will be looking to make an impact and get his season off to a flying start on Sunday. Gerrad Gosens and Trevor Murphy will also contest the PTVI title.
A loaded PTS5 class will take to the field on Sunday, with 2019 National Champion David Bryant and up-and-coming talent Josh Kassulke headlining the field, alongside ITU debutants Jeremy Peacock, Andrew Wilkinson and Jack Howell.
Clint Pickin, Liam Twomey and Dean Mchardie will all contest the PTS4 class. While three time world championship silver medallist Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) and Glen Jarvis (PTS2) will be the only Australians in their respective classes.
The 2020 Newcastle OTU Paratriathlon Oceania Championships will be held on Sunday January 26 in Newcastle, Australia.
The event will see athletes complete a 750m swim in the Newcastle Harbour, before taking on a 20km cycle and 5km run through Newcastle’s foreshore.
2020 Newcastle OTU Paratriathlon Oceania Championships
Nic Beveridge (PTWC)
Lauren Parker (PTWC)
Emily Tapp (PTWC)
Sara Tait (PTWC)
Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
Clint Pickin (PTS4)
Liam Twomey (PTS4)
Dean Mchardie (PTS4)
Sally Pilbeam (PTS4)
Joshua Kassulke (PTS5)
David Bryant (PTS5)
Jack Howell (PTS5)
Jeremy Peacock (PTS5)
Andrew Wilkinson (PTS5)
Kate Doughty (PTS5)
Molly Wallace (PTS5)
Jonathan Goerlach (PTVI)
Gerrad Gosens (PTVI)
Trevor Murphy (PTVI)
Katie Kelly (PTVI)