Wet conditions in Sutton Park on Sunday couldn’t dampen the Aussie team spirit for the debut of the Vision Impaired Para Triathlon at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Sam Harding and Guide Luke Harvey will be bringing Silverware home, with fellow Aussies Jonathan Goerlach and David Mainwaring joining on the dais with Bronze to continue the Australian para triathlon team success on the world stage.
England’s Dave Ellis, the world number one, dominated from start to finish, and set a cracking pace to claim the first ever PTVI Commonwealth Games Gold with Guide Luke Pollard.
Ellis’ swim was near-perfect, the bike was incident-free, and the margin of victory after a tough 5km run was 4:30 minutes to exciting newcomer Sam Harding B3. The rising Australian talent put three consistent, strong segments together to finish with silver ahead of experienced compatriot Jonathan Goerlach B3.
The Tokyo Paralympian (athletics) Harding and guide Harvey have made an immediate impact across the para triathlon racing circuit.
“Since January, working with my guide Luke, it’s been going from strength to strength,” said Sam Harding.
“We raced Dave Ellis in A Coruna and that was a good test and knew we had some things to work on coming here. He brings the standard of Para triathlon up and up, I think competing against the best will always get the most out of yourself.
“Credit to him for PTVI being at the Games here and I’ll do my best to get it back on the calendar for 2026!”
Gerrard Gosens B1 (AUS) was the first man in the water as the sole B1 athlete with Guide Hayden Armstrong, after South Africa’s David Jones’ withdrawal, and he set about the difficult task of the 750m swim with no other athletes to pace off. Nearly three minutes later the B3 athletes got away, and it was Dave Ellis who again produced an outstanding swim, his time of 9m 46s giving him a 35-second advantage over compatriot Oscar Kelly B3 who was 30 seconds ahead of Harding and the leader had 70 seconds over Gosens by the time they had all emerged from Sutton Park lake and climbed the long ramp to transition.
Oscar Kelly suffered a puncture on the first lap and even though he was able to make it to the wheel station on the edge of transition, the time it took to get back underway effectively ended any chances of a medal for the rising talent.
Ellis surged away, every pass through transition and roar of the crowd seeming to spur him on but remaining firmly focussed on avoiding any trouble. Behind him, the race for the podium places began to take shape, Jones, Goerlach and Harding together and preparing to take on the 5km medal-hunt run.
Gunning was a lap back, the unfortunate Kelly taking the bike bell just as Ellis was pulling on his run trainers, and three minutes back it was suddenly Australia’s Harding alone and chasing the silver.
Goerlach, Jones and Gosens were now battling for the bronze, but it was the experience of the Australian Goerlach that shone through, pulling further clear of his rivals with every stride to secure bronze, Gosens finishing in sixth.
In the Women’s PTVI, England’s Katie Crowhurst took Gold, Chloe Maccombe (NIR) had made silver safe, eventually crossing with guide Catherine Sands half a minute ahead of Canda’s Jessica Tuomela who battled to third.
Australia’s Erica Burleigh, who competed in her first competitive para triathlon in February, and Guide Felicity Cradick put together an inspiring performance for sixth place over the sprint course in Sutton Park. Burleigh, with Commonwealth Games experience under her race belt, targets Paris the next goal.
Full men's PTVI results can be found here.
Full women's PTVI results can be found here.