Australians win Para-triathlon minor medals

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Roger Vaughan / AAP News

 

Aussie pairs have captured the silver and bronze medals in the debut of vision impaired Para-triathlon at the Commonwealth Games.

 

Sam Harding’s rapid rise in Para-triathlon has netted the well-credentialed Australian athlete a Commonwealth Games silver medal.

And countryman Jono Goerlach added bronze to his impressive CV as three-time Paralympian Gerrard Goesens tearfully confirmed his retirement after finishing fifth.

England’s David Ellis and guide Luke Polard dominated the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run event on Sunday at Sutton Park, north of Birmingham, on an historic day for Para-triathlon.

It is only the second time the sport has been on the Games program and is the debut for visually impaired Para-triathletes.

Ellis won in 57 minutes 39 seconds, 4:30 ahead of Harding and guide Luke Harvey.

Goerlach and his pilot David Mainwaring completed the podium, 7:42 behind.

Harding, who ran middle distance at the Tokyo Paralympics, only his first Para-triathlon at the start of this year.

He and Harvey met a week before their first ace together and Harvey had never ridden a tandem bike before.

“It’s amazing – I have such a good support network around me, (plus) the lessons I’ve learned from athletics over the last 12 years,” Harding said.

“I’m pretty proud of this one.”

 

 

As Governor General David Hurley and Australian chef de mission Petria Thomas looked on, Australian Erica Burleigh and guide Felicity Cradick finished sixth in the women’s race behind England’s Katie Crowhurst and Jessica Fullagar.

Light rain made conditions difficult, particularly for the unwieldy tandem bikes, and the Scottish team crashed heavily in the men’s race.

 

Defending Games champion Australia is among the medal favourites in the mixed team relay on Sunday afternoon, which will end the Games triathlon program.

Friday’s bronze medallist Matt Hauser will combine with Jake Birtwhistle, Sophie Linn and Natalie Van Coevorden.

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