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Anu Francis Snatches a Sterling Silver in Swansea Para Series

Anu Francis Snatches a Sterling Silver in Swansea Para Series

Paralympic hopeful Anu Francis adapted quickly to the tricky Welsh weather, taking a hard-fought silver medal for Australia at the 2023 World Triathlon Para Series in Swansea.

It came after organisers decided to drop the bike leg, 24 hours before the start, due to adverse weather conditions – making the race an Aquathlon.

The 27-year-old went into the run some 40 seconds behind third place and willed herself to the line to snatch the silver ahead of the experienced Cecile Saboureau (FRA) by one second with the USA’s two-time Paralympic gold medallist Allysa Seely taking the gold.

It was a brave performance from the lightly raced Australian in the PTS2 category – knowing her best discipline, the bike, had been taken away.

It was Australia’s only medal on a day that tested all competitors and one that saw Team Australia lose three-time World Champion and Paralympic silver medallist Lauren Parker on the morning of the race with an injury.

“Lauren had bit of an injury in lead in and the decision was made on race morning to not race,” said Triathlon Australia’s Paralympic Performance Manager Kyle Burns.

“It was a close call but there are bigger races ahead that Lauren needs to be at full fitness for.”

Burns was full of praise for Francis, who claimed her second straight silver in Swansea - securing a podium spot in her maiden World Triathlon Para Series race last year.

“It was a great race by Anu.. she willed herself into second,” said Burns.

“It was going to come down to the finishing straight and that’s exactly what happened with a throw to the line and a never die wondering attitude.

“Conditions were incredibly tricky. The wind had a big effect on the swim and it advantaged some and disadvantaged others. 

“But still points were up for grabs and the athletes had to adapt - you had to be on it in event that was over before you knew it.

“With the bike being the biggest competent, it left a hole but after a trying week of harsh Wales weather, it gave an opportunity to get a result. 

“The team also grouped together closer, so it was great to see different classes going head-to-head.”

Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sam Harding (PTVI) finished fourth in his category producing a great run to get close to the podium, while Jack Howell (PTS5) also finished fourth after finding himself with a 20 second gap behind bronze-medalist Filipe Marques (POR) that he just could not close in the tough conditions.

Meanwhile, at the World Triathlon Para Cup in Long Beach, Maggie Sandles (PTVI) claimed her first international podium with a bronze in a race where her Team Australia teammate Caroline Baird (PTVI) finished fifth.

World Triathlon Para Series Swansea - Results

2nd - Anu Francis (PTS2)
4th - Jack Howell (PTS5)
4th - Sam Harding (PTVI)
6th - David Bryant (PTS5)
9th - Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
10th - Jeremy Peacock (PTS4)
12th - Liam Twomey (PTS4)

World Triathlon Para Cup Long Beach - Results

3rd - Maggie Sandles (PTVI)
5th - Caroline Baird (PTVI)