Australia’s top paratriathletes will gather in Newcastle this weekend for their first dedicated paratriathlon event in almost 12 months as they resume their road to Tokyo.
Fighting past the challenges faced during 2020, including making do with home training set-ups and limited racing opportunities, Saturday’s City of Newcastle Paratriathlon marks the first time that the Australian Paratriathlon contingent will come together as a group to race since the 2020 Devonport World Paratriathlon Series last March.
Speaking to Triathlon Australia, Tokyo hopeful Emily Tapp said that it feels surreal to be getting back to racing after such a prolonged break.
“It’s just a really nice feeling because it’s race week, which we haven’t had since about this time last year,” Tapp said.
“It brings up all those exciting race day feels. I’ll be taking it as the first race of the season; just enjoying the processes that come with race week and a race in Newcastle, and trying to execute our race plan as best we can.”
“I know there’s a lot of countries that don’t have this opportunity, so I feel really fortunate and lucky that Newcastle is able to host us again.”
With Tokyo looming on the horizon, Tapp says that her focus will remain on the events right in front of her.
“ really hammered home [the idea of] controlling the controllables. We’re living in a very evolving and rapidly changing environment with the pandemic, so it’s just about being able to control what we can and be as adaptable as possible, because not everything is going to work out just how you envisioned.”
Competing in the Women’s PTWC class, Tapp will be joined by Newcastle’s own reigning PTWC World Champion, Lauren Parker as well as their 2018 Commonwealth Games teammate Sara Tait.
Paralympian Nic Beveridge will return to Newcastle in the Men’s PTWC class, set to build upon his strong results recorded early last year as he works towards Tokyo ambitions.
Victoria’s Liam Twomey and Canberra’s Clint Pickin will go head-to-head once again in the PTS4 class. With both athletes taking advantage of local racing on offer in their respective cities over the break, Newcastle provides an exciting opportunity for them to test their skills against one another. They’ll be joined on the starting line by newcomer James Parr.
Jonathan Goerlach will be kickstarting his 2021 in Newcastle as he continues his preparations for Tokyo. Making the most of his downtime to build a strong base ahead of the upcoming Games, Goerlach is an exciting prospect as the season gets underway. Joining him in the Men’s PTVI class will be Trevor Murphy and Daniel Searle.
In the Women’s PTVI class, Paralympic Gold medallist Katie Kelly will make the journey down to Newcastle after a quality year of training on the Gold Coast under the guidance of Coach Dan Atkins. Appearing alongside Kelly will be Victorian Maggie Tate, making her first Newcastle appearance.
Glen Jarvis (PTS2), Jeremy Peacock (PTS3) and Andrew Wilkinson (PTS5) will also all make their way to Newcastle for Saturday’s events.
With World Triathlon announcing that the Individual Paralympic Qualification period will not reopen before May 1, 2021, our aspiring Paralympians still have a way to go before they will find out if they have secured a place on the Australian Paralympic Triathlon team for Tokyo.
The City of Newcastle Paratriathlon will take place on Saturday February 20. You can follow along the race highlights over on the Triathlon Australia Instagram page.
City of Newcastle Paratriathlon
Emily Tapp (PTWC)
Lauren Parker (PTWC)
Sara Tait (PTWC)
Nic Beveridge (PTWC)
Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
Jeremy Peacock (PTS3)
Clint Pickin (PTS4)
Liam Twomey (PTS4)
James Parr (PTS4)
Andrew Wilkinson (PTS5)
Daniel Searle (PTVI)
Jonathan Goerlach (PTVI)
Trevor Murphy (PTVI)
Katie Kelly (PTVI)
Maggie Tate (PTVI)
Photo Credit: Con Chronis