‘It’s the biggest race of my career’: Paralympic hopefuls face final qualification race

28 Jun 2024

With dreams of Paris on the line, the stakes have never been higher for Australia’s Paralympic hopefuls as they prepare for what many are calling ‘the biggest race of their careers’.

Saturday’s World Triathlon Para Series Montreal is the last opportunity for them to climb the Paralympic Qualification Rankings before the qualification period closes on July 1.

For some, results could mean the difference between securing a ticket to Paris or missing out on their Paralympic dreams.

For most classifications, the top nine athletes in the rankings can clinch quota spots for their nations, with Australian athletes having the opportunity to secure automatic nominations by ranking within the top five.

Currently, five Australians rank within the top five of their classifications: Lauren Parker (1st, PTWC), Anu Francis (2nd, PTS2), Justin Godfrey (5th, PTS3), Grace Brimelow (5th, PTS4), and Jack Howell (5th, PTS5), but none are slated to compete in Montreal.

Eight athletes sit between sixth and eleventh in their respective categories, Nic Beveridge (6th, PTWC), Sally Pilbeam (7th, PTS4), Jeremy Peacock (7th, PTS4), David Bryant (7th, PTS5), Sam Harding (7th, PTVI), Thomas Goodman (8th, PTS2), Liam Twomey (8th, PTS4), Glen Jarvis (11th, PTS2), and Maggie Sandles (11th, PTVI), all within striking distance of quota spots or automatic nominations.

Seven of them will take the start line in Montreal, Bryant being the exception following a broken collarbone at last week’s World Triathlon Championship Series Swansea.

Thomas Goodman (PTS2) is among those focused on delivering a strong performance. He sits eighth on the Paralympic Qualification Rankings, with only 91.43 points separating sixth to tenth place.

“It’s the biggest race of my career,” Goodman said.

“I’m just trying to think about it as another race, but if you look at it, it is the biggest with all the pressure in regard to qualifying.

“I’m trying to treat it as just another race. If I execute as well as I know I can, I can produce a good result. That will be the aim.

“It’s nice to know there are others in the same boat. Everyone is being super supportive of each other, the team is fantastic.

“It will be great when the race is over being able to support each other whether it goes well or not to plan.”

Having made his international debut at last year’s World Triathlon Para Championships in Pontevedra, Goodman’s goal was to compete at the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympic Games. But, after a stellar year, his performances may now be pointing him towards Paris.

He began his campaign with victory at the Oceania Triathlon Para Championships Stockton, and continued to impress with a solid sixth-place finish at the World Triathlon Para Series Devonport.

But it was his bronze medal performance at World Triathlon Para Series Yokohama that truly solidified his status as a contender for a spot on Australia’s Paralympic team as he sent himself surging up the Paralympic Games Qualification Rankings.

He added another bronze medal at last month’s World Triathlon Para Cup Samarkand.

“It’s as good of a position as I could have hoped for at this point in the qualifying period,” Goodman said.

“I’m really proud to be sitting in the top eight at this point.

“Paris was always a long-shot. It was all about getting experience this year and learning the sport.

“I still have a lot of learning to do. Paris was not on the radar but I’m super stoked to be in a position to put my hat in the ring.

“Seeing the results from the work I’ve been putting in, whether I qualify or don’t, I’m super proud either way.”

For Goodman, representing Australia in Paris would be the fulfilment of a lifelong dream and possibly the proudest moment of his life, though his soon-to-be newborn might offer some stiff competition.

“It would be a dream come true,” Goodman said.

“Qualifying for the Paralympics has always been the dream from when I was young. To be able to represent Australia on the biggest stage in the world would be an absolute honour. It would probably be my proudest moment.

“I probably shouldn’t say that because my fiancé is just about to have a baby, so I should be mindful that will probably be the proudest moment of my life. But qualifying for the Paralympics would be right up there.”

To view the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games Nomination Criteria, click here.
To view the World Triathlon Paralympic Games Qualification Rankings, 
click here.

World Triathlon Para Series Montreal
Saturday, June 29 – 10pm AEST

Nic Beveridge (PTWC)
Thomas Goodman (PTS2)
Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
Jeremy Peacock (PTS4)
Liam Twomey (PTS4)
Sam Harding (PTVI)
Sally Pilbeam (PTS4)
Hannah MacDougall (PTS4)
Maggies Sandles (PTVI)
Caroline Baird (PTVI)

Full Start List


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