Australian Paralympic star Lauren Parker has scorched around a slippery Yokohama circuit to win a 10th straight para-triathlon gold medal, despite a hiccup which cost her valuable time in the first transition change.
The Australian para team finished the day with one gold, two silver and two bronze medals and a host of encouraging other results.
But it was Parker who kept her unbeaten two-year reign in check as she plots a historic campaign for the Paris Paralympics after the drawstring in her wetsuit pants knotted in the change from swim to hand-cycle.
It forced her experienced handler Dave Robertson to rip the suit off, leaving the draw string around Parker’s waist for the remainder of the race.
“We experienced some drama in T1 and it probably cost us around two minutes, but she did what Loz does best and put her head down and ripped in; seeing that smile on her face when she crossed the line was magic - she was very happy,” said Robertson.
Her victory in the World Triathlon Para Series race on a tricky, rain-affected course comes just a week after her gold medal debut in the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup in Belgium as the girl from Newcastle strives to contest the two sports at next year’s Paris Games.
After beating the reigning Paralympic cycling medallists in the Time Trial and Road Race in Belgium, Parker defeated decorated US Paralympian, Kendall Gretsch, who staged a final wheel push to take the gold from Parker in the dramatic paratriathlon finish in Tokyo in 2021.
Despite the time loss, it was Parker who made every post a winner, beating Gretsch by over a minute – cruising across the line in 1:07.06 with Gretsch in 1:08.13 and Brazil’s Jessica Ferreira third in 1:09.13.
Parker has been unbeaten on all courses and distances from the WTPS sprints to full IRONMAN ever since in a two-year period that has seen her unleash complete domination from the 34-year-old.
There were also issues for two-time Paralympian Nic Beveridge who struggled to the finish after being forced to push his chair across the line without a handgrip, pushing the chair with his bare hands – finishing third behind Japan’s Jumpei Kimura and USA’s Howie Sanborn.
Other medallists were Jack Howell and Paralympian David Bryant who were second and third respectively in the PTS5 Men behind Germany’s Martin Schultz, who crossed the line a comfortable winner in 56:52, with Howell clocking 58:17 and Bryant 58:30.
While former world champion, Sally Pilbeam, continued her encouraging comeback, finishing with the silver behind comfortable winner Kelly Elmlinger (USA) who clocked 1:09.28 to Pilbeam’s 1:14.46.
Team AUS ResultsLauren Parker (PTWC) - 1st
Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) - 2nd
Jack Howell (PTS5) - 2nd
David Bryant (PTS5) - 3rd
Nic Beveridge (PTWC) - 3rd
Anu Francis (PTS2) - 4th
Justin Godfrey (PTS3) - 4th
Maggie Sandles (PTVI) - 5th
Caroline Baird (PTVI) - 6th