Lauren Parker heads into the ITU World Cup in Devonport this weekend with a huge boost of confidence after her win at the Newcastle OTU Oceania Championship last Sunday.
After the success of last years’ event, Devonport is hosting the first of seven Paratriathlon World Cups in another major coup for Triathlon Australia and the Devonport Triathlon.
It will be back to back racing for most of these athletes who raced the OTU Oceania Championships last weekend, chasing valuable points the event offered and racing experience to get 2019 underway.
The in-form Parker made a huge statement with a dominating performance in Newcastle and showcased the outcome of changes undertaken not just in training but all aspects of her program to ensure she is the best athlete she can be in pursuit of Paralympic gold in Tokyo 2020.
“I’m definitely still on a high after the race in Newcastle on the weekend. To get the win in the first race of the season, at home, was very special. I’ve pulled up pretty well after the race. After an easy recovery day, I was back into training at the track as normal,” said Parker.
“With the Devonport World Cup race coming up on Saturday I guess it’s a bit of a challenge lining up for two races in the same week, but I can’t wait to get stuck in and hopefully keep the momentum going.
“Devonport last year was my first full Paratriathlon event (due to the cancelled swim leg at the 2018 Oceania Champs the month before). I feel that race played an important part in the journey to where I am now with my racing, and where I’m hoping to get to. I’m looking forward to giving it another crack this year and hopefully just keep improving every time I race.”
It will also include Rio Paralympic golden girl Katie Kelly (PTV) and 2016 team mates Kate Doughty (PTS5) and Nic Beveridge (PTWC) as well as two-time ITU World Champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Emily Tapp (PTWC), and dual World Champion Sally Pilbeam (PTS4).
Returning to racing after the birth of her son, Henrik in July last year, Doughty will be aiming for another good performance after last week’s win in the PTS5 category, joined by new-comer Molly Wallace who debuted at Newcastle last weekend as well as Petra Lévay from Hungary.
Also coming off a win last weekend, Joshua Kassulke will be aiming to repeat his performance in the PTS5 male category, with Western Australia's David Bryant making his debut against some strong international competition from Péter Boronkay (HUN), Antoine Besse (FRA) and Lithuania's Ernestas Cesonis.
Triathlon Australia’s National Performance Director Justin Drew knows the importance of having accessible races close to home.
"It’s great to have high level back-to-back paratriathlon racing opportunities in our country. I know our athletes enjoyed kicking off the season in Newcastle and looking forward to having another opportunity come this weekend in Devonport. We have all our key Tokyo Paralympic contenders racing as they refine their strategy into their season and the Paralympic qualification period,” said Drew.
The Men's PTS4 category will be hotly contested with Australian's Clint Pickin, Liam Twomey and Dean McHardie lining up against an impressive international field with nine different countries represented, including Austria's Oliver Derier, Kyrgyzstan's Nurbek Toichubaev and USA's Omar Bermejo.
Australia’s world championships PTV1 representatives, Jonathan Goerlach and Gerrard Gosens will be tested by a strong international line up that has made the trip to Devonport. The challenges will come from France's Arnaud Grandjean, Daniel Knegt (NED) and Kin Wa Chu (Hong Kong).
HOW TO WATCH
Devonport Triathlon Livestream
Saturday 2nd March 2019
ITU Paratriathlon World Cup 9am AEDST |11pm Friday CET
Full event schedule here: