The International Triathlon Union World Paratriathlon Event (WPE) this Sunday 24th April promises to deliver some exciting racing as the world’s best paratriathletes vie for all important Paralympic qualifying points.
Held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre, the Penrith WPE is the last opportunity in Australia to gain selection points towards the Rio Paralympic Games where the sport will debut in September.
The Penrith event will feature PT1 to PT5 ITU classes with a total of 10 medal events. Athletes are classified according to their activity limitation and impairment. PT1 use a handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment. PT2/ PT3 /PT4 includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and impairment. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. PT5 athletes are totally blind or partially visual Impaired. They have a guide throughout the race and ride a tandem during the bike segment.
There is a huge field of Aussies in contention for Rio to watch out for this weekend.
· PT1 Men – Bill Chaffey, Nic Beveridge, Scott Crowley
· PT2 Men – Brant Garvey, Glen Jarvis
· PT4 Men – Jack Swift, Joshua Kassulke, Tony Scoleri
· PT4 Women – Kate Doughty, Claire McLean
A particularly strong field of PT4 women will see five out of the top eight from the 2015 World Championships going into battle. This includes Australia’s own World Championship bronze medallist Kate Doughty and 2015 Sunshine Coast WPE winner Claire McLean, who will face off against current and former World Champions Lauren Steadman and Clare Cunningham (GBR)
Five times World Champion Australian Bill Chaffey (AUS) will go head to head with team mate Scott Crowley who finished second to him in the PT1 class at Oceania and National Championships this year. Chaffey and Crowley will be hoping to fend off other contenders ranked in the world top 10, Joe Townsend (GB), Nic Beveridge (AUS) and 2016 African Champion Anton Swanepoel (RSA) who is looking for retribution following a technical problem and subsequent DNF at the World Championships.
PT2 athlete Brant Garvey (AUS) is hoping to keep Andrew Lewis (GBR) at bay. Lewis made a critical mistake at the World Championships doing an extra lap on the bike course but Garvey recorded faster swim and run splits.
In the PT4 men’s class Australia’s Josh Kassulke will face strong opposition from ten of the 2015 World Championships field including his team mate Jack Swift, who will also have an additional battle for honours as the best below knee amputee in the world against Jamie Brown (USA).
Although their classification will not be included in Rio, Australian World Championships medallists Kerryn Harvey and Justin Godfrey, both PT3, will also be racing as part of their preparation for the ITU World Championships in July.
An Open Paratriathlon Event will provide paratriathletes not on the WPE start list with the rare opportunity to pit themselves against the WPE field on the same course on the same day, providing a valuable benchmark. The Open Paratriathlon race is the final qualifying race for athletes hoping to earn selection for the 2016 Open World Paratriathlon Championships in Rotterdam.
Triathlon NSW also encourage all athletes with a disability to give the sport a go by entering the Open Paratriathlon Event. The event will be held on a closed course and swim exit handlers are provided.
Saturday 23rd will see the 2016 Penrith Oceania Triathlon Union (OTU) Sprint Championships Showcasing Elite and U23 athletes from the Oceania region. Age Groupers will compete for World Championship Qualification in the OTU Age Group Championships, and in-line with our goal of increasing participation in triathlon there will also be an Enticer and TryKids events.