Paralympics Australia has announced a six-athlete Para-triathlon squad featuring three Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games medallists to represent Australia at Tokyo 2020.
Gold Coast 2018 Individual Para-Triathlon silver medallists Emily Tapp and Nic Beveridge, as well as 2018 Gold Coast Individual Para-Triathlon bronze medallist Lauren Parker headline the squad of six headed to Tokyo.
After receiving bronze at the Gold Coast 2018 Games, Parker took out the 2019 World Championships in the PTWC (Para-triathlete wheelchair) classification and is currently ranked No. 1 in the world.
Fellow Gold Coast 2018 alumni Emily Tapp is currently ranked No. 3 in the same classification.
World No. 8 Beveridge is set to contest his second Paralympics after finishing ninth in the PTWC classification at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Following his silver medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Games, Nic went on to win gold at the Sarasota 2018 ITU Para-triathlon World Cup.
Joining them is reigning gold medallist Katie Kelly, who became Australia’s first Paralympic triathlon champion when she and guide Michellie Jones won the PT5 classification for total or partial visually impaired Para-triathletes at the Rio 2016 Olympics, the first Games in which Para-triathlon was included.
The team is rounded out by Jonathan Goerlach with guide Dave Mainwaring (world No.4 in his visually impaired Para-triathletes classification) and David Bryant (world No.12 PTS5 classification, which is for Para-triathletes with mild impairments).
“It’s an outstanding team,” Kelly said.
“There are some outstanding athletes who’ve been in the triathlon game for a long time and are really ready to make their mark in Tokyo.
“I think for all of us there’s just a great sense of gratitude at the moment. We’re so grateful the Games are going ahead, so grateful for the country we live in and being able to keep training over the last 12 months.
“Our hearts and thoughts have been with all our triathlon competitors overseas, especially in Spain and Italy where they’ve had some really tough times. We also have admiration for the courage of the Japanese in staging the Games.
“Being over in Yokohama to compete recently, I had a strong sense that they want to hold these Games and they’re doing everything possible to make sure it’s safe for the athletes and their own people. All that combined gives our Para-triathlon Team a real sense of excitement and gratitude that it’s happening. It’s going to be a really joyous celebration.”
Australian Team Chef de Mission Kate McLoughlin said she was eager to see the squad consolidate their credentials on the course at Odaiba in Tokyo.
“I’m thrilled to welcome these exceptional athletes to the Australian Paralympic Team,” McLoughlin said.
“Para-triathlon is an absorbing physical and mental test and the group we’ve named today are as tough and driven as they come.
“Each of them has set incredibly high standards since Rio and their opportunity now is to convert that on the biggest stage and show the world what an awesome Australian Para-triathlon Team we have.”