My guide, Bri and I recently competed at the ITU World Paratriathlon Series in Yokohama, Japan. It is always a privilege to be part of the Triathlon Australia team, and great to get back on the podium!
There are many moments during a triathlon race when any number of things can turn your race for the better or the not so good. These might be from dropping your helmet in T2, losing the grip on your bike or at worst doing one less lap of a bike or run course.
When competing with a Guide as a Vision Impaired athlete there is more consideration to each part of the race. We work together as a team, and we have to know what the other is doing for the whole race.
This photo depicts part of the challenge and highlights the role of the Guide.
At this point Bri and I are running out T2 (transition from bike to run). I completely lose my bearing and can't see Bri. This is due to having less than 10 percent vision, and no peripheral vision. Additionally due to profound hearing loss, my balance is affected.
As we run out from the bike, I grab my part of the run tether that Bri is holding onto. At this point I am attempting to hook it onto my race suit, and at this moment I lose my bearings.
Despite almost falling over onto Bri, she remains calm and in control I love the expression on her face, it doesn't flinch. I have absolute trust in where I am at with Bri and this is something we work on everyday at training.
We are always presented with moments where I might stumble, or Bri puts her body literally on the line when we are for example doing an open water swim. As our coach Dan Atkins has us do in training, in moments like these where I fall out of sync or Bri cops a head knock in a swim, we reset and we continue on.
A big thank you to my coach Dan Atkins and Guide Briarna Silk and the incredible support team we have including Triathlon Australia and Queensland Academy of Sport.
Thank you also to my major sponsors Harvey Norman and PICA.
Below is an summary of the event and other Paratriathlon results from Triathlon Australia's website:
Rio Paralympic gold medallist Katie Kelly (PTV1) produced a solid swim, bike and run performance to grab silver with guide Briarna Silk in her first real test of international competition. Equal to the task for the men was Jonathan Goerlach (PTV1) also grabbing silver with guide Sam Douglas.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Lauren Parker finished with a hard-fought bronze after a disrupted preparation following back surgery eight weeks ago. Parker finished 54 seconds behind winner and Commonwealth Champion Jade Hall (GBR) and shaved nearly five minutes off her 2018 time.
In other results were: Nic Beveridge (4th PTWC), Emily Tapp (7th PTWC), Josh Kassulke (7th PTS5) and Clint Pickin (8th PTS4).
Results and more by clicking the button below.