Tokyo Paralympics silver medallist Lauren Parker will begin her quest to compete in two sports at Paris 2024 when she races at the World Triathlon Para Series opener at Devonport, Tasmania on Saturday.
The 34-year-old, who is seeking to qualify for Australia’s triathlon and cycling teams for next year’s Games, enters this year’s series as two-time reigning World Champion. She also conquered the gruelling Ironman Triathlon at Kona last year.
“Lauren’s long-term goals are to make that Paris team next year in both triathlon and cycling and everyone is on the same page to give her every opportunity to achieve that,” her coach Dan Atkins said.
“She is a remarkable athlete who just loves a challenge and that pathway to Paris really hots up in Devonport.”
After Saturday’s race, Parker will travel to Europe to race in the 20km Cycling Time Trial at the Belgium World Cup before tackling the Yokohama round of the World Triathlon Para Series.
The event at Devonport will be a gathering of Australia’s best Para-triathletes, including Parker, two-time PTWC Paralympian Nic Beveridge, their team mate from Tokyo 2020 David Bryant and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sam Harding and guide Luke Harvey.
Also competing are Rio 2016 representatives Kate Naess (PTS5) and Brant Garvey, (PTS2) who, with former world champion Sally Pilbeam (PTS4), are all on the comeback trail.
Veteran Justin Godfrey (PTS3) will push towards qualifying for his first Australian Paralympic Team and recently classified PTVI athlete Maggie Sandles will make her Para Tri debut.
Other Australians racing at Devonport are 2022 World Para Championship medallists Anu Francis (PTS2) and Jeremy Peacock (PTS4), Glen Jarvis (PTS2), Liam Twomey (PTS4) and Jack Howell (PTS5).
Triathlon Australia Paralympic Performance Manager Kyle Burns said it was important to lay a strong foundation for the pathway to Paris.
“That means making sure we get as many athletes as we can in the top five rankings. Devonport provides a great place to race and to start the World Para Tri Series,” he said.
“It is great to have Lauren here again. I saw her recently in Canberra at a training camp and she looks really good and is in a really good spot moving forward which is exciting.
“To have the likes of Kate Naess, Brant Garvey and Sally Pilbeam back in the mix along with relative newcomer Sam Harding, who started his Para Tri career here 12 months again, and rookie Maggie Sandles starting out in the same PTVI class is also great for her and the sport.”
Racing starts from 8am AEDT.
Devonport Para Series Start List – Team AUS
Nic Beveridge (PTWC)
Lauren Parker (PTWC)
Glen Jarvis (PTS2)
Brant Garvey (PTS2)
Anu Francis (PTS2)
Justin Godfrey (PTS3)
Jeremy Peacock (PTS4)
Liam Twomey (PTS4)
Sally Pilbeam (PTS4)
David Bryant (PTS5)
Jack Howell (PTS5)
Kate Naess (PTS5)
Sam Harding (PTVI) & Luke Harvey (Guide)
Maggie Sandles (PTVI) & Felicity Cradick (Guide)
By: Triathlon Australia and David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 17 March 2023