Paralympic triathlete Kate Næss (nee Doughty) announced her retirement from elite triathlon last night.
After a wildly successful triathlon career that saw Næss represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, claim a World Championship bronze medal, seven World Paratriathlon Series titles and two ITU Paratriathlon World Cup wins, the Melbourne-based athlete has made the decision to step back from competing in elite sport.
Speaking on her retirement, Næss said that ultimately the events of 2020, including the postponement of the Tokyo Paralympics, led her to the decision to call time on her elite career.
“Although the last six months have proven challenging and have had a significant impact on how I envisioned 2020 to play out, it has given me the opportunity to lean in and reflect on my identity in sport and self-worth beyond the finish line,” Næss said.
“I have reached a point in my career where I can proudly say I am content, and have a genuine appreciation for the career I have had to date. I am really happy to sign off at this point in my career.”
“For me, my time as an athlete was about way more than winning. It has been about the journey, and the smaller wins along the way, that will remain the most memorable.”
Næss’ triathlon career has been studded with success right from the start, when the Melbournian claimed silver at her World Paratriathlon debut at the 2015 Sunshine Coast ITU World Paratriathlon Event. Since her debut, Næss has proved to be a consistent performer, finding her way onto the ITU podium 18 times from 22 starts.
In 2016, just over 18 months after her paratriathlon debut, Næss reached the pinnacle of the sport, representing Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics where she placed an impressive 5th.
Næss’ impact on triathlon goes beyond her paratriathlon success. A dominant return to racing following the birth of son Henrik in 2018, marked by an emotional win at the 2019 Milan ITU World Paratriathlon Series, places Naess amongst a select few women who have returned to an elite level after becoming mums.
Although Næss continued to rack up key Paralympic qualification points towards Tokyo with wins at the 2020 Oceania Paratriathlon Championships and 2020 Devonport World Paratriathlon Series, the COVID-19 outbreak provided a timely pause in her career to reflect on the future ahead of her.
Triathlon Australia Paratriathlon Lead, Kyle Burns said that Kate retires having left a long-lasting impact on paratriathlon.
“Kate has been a major player within the Paralympic program for quite some time,” Burns said.
“The experience, leadership and elite thinking that Kate has brought to the program has really helped push the program forward to where it is today.”
“She’s taken on every challenge presented to her head-on and can retire comfortable with the knowledge that she’s gotten the most out of herself as an athlete. We’re definitely sad to see Kate retire, but we’re also excited for the future ahead of her.”
Triathlon Australia would like to congratulate Kate Næss on a fantastic paratriathlon career and thank her for her contributions to the sport. We wish her and her family all the best for the future.
ITU Career: 2015 – 2020
2015 ITU Paratriathlon World Championship bronze medallist
7 x ITU World Paratriathlon Series wins
2 x ITU Paratriathlon World Cup wins
2 x Australian Paratriathlon National Champion (2015, 2016)