Australia’s top paratriathletes have kicked off their 2020 season in emphatic fashion in hot and humid conditions at the 2020 Oceania Paratriathlon Championships in Newcastle today.
In front of a lively and vocal home crowd, Lauren Parker (PTWC) sped home to her second consecutive Oceania Championship in 01:13:43.
Taking an assertive lead right from the start, Parker put herself in a strong position heading out of the 750m swim and onto the bike leg. Parker established a three-minute gap over Commonwealth Games teammate, Emily Tapp by the end of the 20km bike, and headed out onto the run with a commanding lead to take the win in 01:13:43.
Speaking to Triathlon Australia, Parker said that racing in her hometown is simply the best way to start the season.
“I just felt great out there on course, I had so many supporters out there and I just really loved it,” Parker said.
“It’s so good to now have two major races in Australia this year, with Newcastle today and Devonport in four weeks’ time.”
“For Devonport to be a [World Paratriathlon Series race] is just so good for Australia. We get all the international racers coming over and it will be great competition there.”
“I hope to back up all my races this year. Getting the win today was awesome, and I hope to back up the win in Devonport, and take the win at the World Championships in Milan in May, leading into the Tokyo Paralympics.”
Finishing just behind Parker in 01:17:24, Tapp took home a solid second place finish ahead of a big 2020 season for the Canberran. While Sara Tait claimed third in 01:43:01 after an unfortunate mechanical on the bike.
Clint Pickin made his intentions for the 2020 season clear, putting together a standout performance to take home the Men’s PTS4. Fighting hard to keep a gap on Liam Twomey, Pickin strung together a strong swim, bike and run to take home his third consecutive Oceania title in 01:09:18, with Twomey not far behind (01:11:43). Dean Mchardie took 3rd in 01:45:34.
It was a similar affair in the Men’s PTS5 class, with only moments separating David Bryant, Andrew Wilkinson and Joshua Kassulke. Exiting the water within two minutes of each other, the chase was on to take hold of the race on the bike. Laying down a speedy 00:32:30 bike leg, Bryant put himself in pole position with a three-minute gap over Wilkinson heading onto the run. Maintaining pace, Bryant sprinted home for the title in 01:04:36.
Jonathan Goerlach kicked off his 2020 season with a confidence boosting win in the PTVI class in Newcastle. Taking on paratriathlon stalwart Gerrad Gosens and ITU debutant Trevor Murphy, Goerlach blitzed through the swim, bike and run to take the win in 01:03:55, ahead of Gosens in 2nd, and Murphy in 3rd.
In the PTS5 Women Kate Næss (nee Doughty) had a solid hit-out ahead of next month’s Devonport World Paratriathlon Series, notching up her first win of the season with a time of 01:13:12. While youngster Molly Wallace had another taste of elite paratriathlon competition, taking second in 01:29:07.
Katie Kelly secured her first win of the 2020 season, taking a clear win over New Zealand’s Shannon Cleave in the Women’s PTVI class. While three-time World Champion silver medallist Sally Pilbeam also started her season on the right foot with a commanding win over New Zealand’s Sharon Dagg in the PTS4 class.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nic Beveridge, Glen Jarvis and ITU debutant Jeremy Peacock also got their seasons off to flying starts, securing wins in the PTWC, PTS2 and PTS3 classes, respectively.
Australia’s paratriathletes will now turn their focus towards Devonport, with the ITU World Paratriathlon Series returning to Australian shores next month for the first time since the 2018 ITU Gold Coast Grand Final.
2020 Newcastle OTU Oceania Paratriathlon Championships (*provisional results)
1st Lauren Parker (PTWC)
2nd Emily Tapp (PTWC)
3rd Sara Tait (PTWC)
1st Sally Pilbeam (PTS4)
1st Kate Næss (PTS5)
2nd Molly Wallace (PTS5)
1st Katie Kelly (PTVI)
1st Nic Beveridge (PTWC)
1st Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
1st Jeremy Peacock (PTS3)
1st Clint Pickin (PTS4)
2nd Liam Twomey (PTS4)
3rd Dean Mchardie (PTS4)
1st David Bryant (PTS5)
2nd Andrew Wilkinson (PTS5)
3rd Joshua Kassulke (PTS5)
1st Jonathan Goerlach (PTVI)
2nd Gerrad Gosens (PTVI)
3rd Trevor Murphy (PTVI)