Paralympic triathlete Kate Næss (nee Doughty) has announced her retirement from elite triathlon.

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.

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It’s not about what could have been, it's about what has been, and it’s been nothing short of amazing. From Equestrian to becoming a Paralympic triathlete, I am proudly announcing my retirement. I am looking forward to starting the next chapter of my career with a fresh sense of purpose and drive, as well as focusing on time with the family. Although the last 6 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 reflect on my identity and self worth beyond the finish line. I have reached a point where I can proudly say I have a genuine appreciation for my career to date. For me, it was about way more than winning. The journey and the smaller wins along the way will remain the most memorable. And oh what a journey. Some of the biggest risks I took led to the most amazing opportunities. To my husband @jarlenaess thank you for supporting me to achieve my Paralympic dream, and for travelling the rollercoaster by my side. Thank you for your patience as I trained and travelled, for being there always, and embracing triathlon with as much love and passion as I have. To my valued sponsors, this journey would have not been possible without you, thank you for your genuine support, it has been an honour to represent you. To my coach and friend @elotikprotriathlon @daniellestefano, I cannot thank you enough for your unconditional guidance and commitment to ensuring I became the best triathlete I could. For your faith and support to help me realise I was capable to go beyond what I thought I could do as a triathlete, even after having a baby. It's been an absolute cracker. Thank you @triaustralia, and to all my team mates and fellow athletes, kick some butt in 2021, Ill be watching proudly. As I sign off, some key learnings: ⭐️Stepping outside your comfort zone can be one of the best moves you will make ⭐️Never be afraid to ask for help⭐️Extreme circumstances can make you stronger, they are opportunities to think and learn ⭐️Try to discover what interests you outside of sport while doing sport, not after⭐️Sport is something you do, it’s not who you are⭐️Be proud of what you have achieved

A post shared by Kate Naess (Doughty) (@katedoughty01) on

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 Para-triathlon 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.

Athletic Performance
ITU Career: 2015 – 2020
Paralympian (2016)
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)

By: Triathlon Australia
Posted: 27 August 2020