The 38th running of the Devonport Triathlon will host the first round of the 2023 World Triathlon Para Series, drawing some of the top para triathletes from around the globe to the Apple Isle.
Tokyo silver medallist Lauren Parker will start her journey towards qualifying for two sports at next year's Paralympics in Paris when she lines up for what will be her fifth win in Saturday's World Triathlon Para Series opener in Devonport.
The 34-year-old from Newcastle, who won a silver medal in the PTWC category at the 2020 Paralympics, has her sights set on both the Paris 2024 triathlon and cycling teams.
The road to Paris starts in Devonport when she kick starts a journey into Paralympic history after last year conquering the IRONMAN Triathlon in Kona and her third World Championship in Abu Dhabi, adding to her previous wins in Abu Dhabi in 2021 and Lausanne in 2019.
Parker is synonymous with success in the Devonport Triathlon having won in 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 and although victory will be assured if she completes the course, her coach Dan Atkins has revealed Parker “will challenge herself and will be trialling different strategies.”
“Lauren’s long-term goals are to make that Paris team next year in both triathlon and cycling and everyone is on the same page to give her every opportunity to achieve that,” said Atkins.
“She is a remarkable athlete who just loves a challenge and that pathway to Paris really hots up in Devonport.”
After Devonport, Parker will race in the 20km Cycling Time Trial at the Belgium World Cup before tackling the Yokohama round of the World Triathlon Para Series.
Devonport will see a reunion of the current day para triathlon stars, including Parker, two-time PTWC Paralympian Nic Beveridge, their team mate from Tokyo 2020 David Bryant and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sam Harding and guide Luke Harvey, himself a talent transfer athlete who ran for Australia on the track at the Olympics.
Beveridge, who made his Paralympic debut in Rio in 2016 will reunite himself with two of his team mates in Kate Naess (nee Doughty) in PTS5 and Brant Garvey, (PTS2) who, with former world champion Sally Pilbeam (PTS4), are all on the comeback trail.
Veteran Justin Godfrey (PTS3) will continue his journey towards qualifying for his first Paralympics next year and recently classified PTVI Gold Coaster Maggie Sandles will make her Para Tri debut in Devonport.
Australia’s team lining up in Devonport also features2022 World Para Championship medallists Anu Francis (PTS2) and Jeremy Peacock (PTS4), Glen Jarvis (PTS2), Liam Twomey (PTS4), and Jack Howell (PTS5) who also made his international Para breakout in 2022.
Triathlon Australia Paralympic Performance Manager Kyle Burns said he is excited with the opportunities for the Australian team moving forward.
“It is all about laying the foundations towards Paris, we have to get that right,” said Burns.
“And that means making sure we get as many athletes as we can in the top five rankings and Devonport provides a great place to race and to start the World Para Tri Series.
“It is great to have Lauren here again and I saw her recently in Canberra at a training camp and she looks really good and is in a really good spot moving forward which is exciting.
“And to have the likes of Kate Naess, Brant Garvey and Sally Pilbeam back in the mix along with relative newcomer Sam Harding who started his Para Tri career here 12 months again and rookie Maggie Sandles starting out in the same PTVI class is also great for her and the sport.”
You can catch all the Para Triathlon action live on TriathlonLIVE.tv from 8am AEDT on Saturday 18 March!
Nic Beveridge (PTWC)
Lauren Parker (PTWC)
Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
Brant Garvey (PTS2)
Anu Francis (PTS2)
Justin Godfrey (PTS3)
Jeremy Peacock (PTS4)
Liam Twomey (PTS4)
Sally Pilbeam (PTS4)
David Bryant (PTS5)
Jack Howell (PTS5)
Kate Naess (PTS5)
Sam Harding (PTVI) & Luke Harvey (Guide)
Maggie Sandels (PTVI) & Felicity Cradick (Guide)
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