Each month, Triathlon Queensland is casting a spotlight on a Triathlon Queensland Member who has a remarkable story to tell. First off the bat in January we have Sara-Ashlee Tait who is an elite paratriathlete. Take a read of her inspiring journey below.
Sara-Ashlee Tait is an Australian paratriathlete who trains on the Gold Coast. Sara was born with a condition called Spina Bifida, meaning her class is PTWC and her subclass is H1. From being the 2015 World Paratriathlete Champion to placing top 10 at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Sara has achieved some amazing results since starting her triathlon journey 7 years ago.
Prior to triathlon, Sara competed in wheelchair racing where she trained with former 5x world champion of triathlon, Bill Chaffey. After watching her training partner, and taking on the advice from her coach, Sara took the leap to try triathlon.
Not knowing much about the sport and a desire to get proper training, Sara decided to join her local club Team T-Rex Triathlon Club. From the outside, this club accounted for a range of abilities and appeared to be the perfect opportunity to form strong social interactions. After several sessions, it was clear that Sara made the perfect choice, with her coach, Teresa Theaker and her club members being extremely encouraging, friendly and very excited to learn what she was capable of. To this day, the club continue to go out of their way to help Sara and assist where they can. One of the best phrases Sara has learnt was from Coach Teresa – ‘consistency is key’.
As with all athletes, Sara has overcome many obstacles. Of course, she needs to maintain the challenge of consistently putting her body on the line while remaining injury-free and staying healthy. But Sara’s determination to achieve success is remarkable. At the 2015 World Paratriathlon Championships, Sara picked up a viral infection the day before she raced. However Sara, being the strong-willed individual she is, still raced with a 40 degree fever and won gold!
Despite competing and winning on the world stage, Sara’s career highlight was racing at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Racing in one of the most prestigious events, less than a kilometre away from her home, with all her friends and family being able to watch, was a magical moment for the then 20-year-old athlete.
Sara is also in her final trimester of a Bachelor of Design at Griffith University. Despite being an elite athlete, Sara acknowledges this career has a lifespan and believes it is important to keep one eye on the future. She has also found creating a balanced lifestyle is healthy for her mental state and ensuring she remains grounded.
Sara’s mindset of ‘enjoy the journey, not just the destination’ truly sums up her approach to the sport. Major goals do not happen overnight, consistently showing up and putting in the hard work is crucial to achieving prestigious dreams. Triathlon is an inclusive sport, and the community supports anyone and everyone, regardless of the different abilities.
Sara’s next goal is to make the Australian Team for the 2024 Paralympics in Paris.