Australian Paralympic star Lauren Parker has scorched around a slippery Yokohama circuit to score a 10th straight Para-triathlon victory just a week after her gold medal Para-cycling debut at the UCI Road World Cup in Belgium.
The outstanding results suggest Parker is on track to achieve her goal to compete in triathlon and cycling at the Paris Paralympics next year.
After beating reigning Paralympic cycling medallists in the Time Trial and Road Race in Belgium, Parker headed to Japan where she toppled decorated US Paralympian Kendall Gretsch whose final push in their clash at Tokyo 2020 snatched gold from the Australian’s grasp.
The Australian Para-team finished in Yokohama with one gold, two silver and two bronze medals and a host of encouraging other results.
Parker’s win was particularly impressive after the drawstring in her wetsuit pants knotted in the change from swim to hand-cycle, costing her valuable time. Her experienced handler Dave Robertson ripped the suit off, leaving the draw string around Parker’s waist for the remainder of the race.
Robertson said: “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.”
Despite the time loss, Parker beat 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.
Two-time Paralympian Nic Beveridge finished without hand grips, pushing across the line bare-handed to come in third behind Japan’s Jumpei Kimura and USA’s Howie Sanborn.
Jack Howell and Paralympian David Bryant came second and third respectively in the PTS5 Men behind Germany’s Martin Schultz, who crossed in 56:52, with Howell clocking 58:17 and Bryant 58:30.
Former world champion Sally Pilbeam continued her encouraging comeback, taking silver behind comfortable winner Kelly Elmlinger (USA) who clocked 1:09.28 to Pilbeam’s 1:14.46.
Team AUS Results
Lauren 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
By: Triathlon Australia and David Sygall, Paralympics Australia
Posted: 17 May 2023
Image: World Triathlon