Spread the love

The moment of truth is rapidly approaching for Australia’s leading Para-triathletes as they try to sure up their prospects of qualifying for the Paris Paralympics with strong results at the “stacked” World Triathlon Para Series event in Yokohama.  

The event in Japan is one of just three remaining opportunities to secure the rankings points required to be invited to compete in Para-triathlon at Paris 2024, which will be based around a floating pontoon at the Pont Alexander III, on the Seine River.  

For most classifications, the top nine-ranked athletes will earn quota spots for their nations. Australia’s elite has the added incentive of earning automatic individual qualification if they are ranked in the world’s top five.  

“At the moment there’s six of us that are sitting in that top five slot, so for us to stay in that top five is super important,” said Anu Francis, currently ranked two in the world in the PTS2 classification.  

Among the top-ranked Australians are Lauren Parker (PTWC), Jack Howell (PTS5), Nic Beveridge (PTWC), Jeremy Peacock (PTS4), Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) and Justin Godfrey (PTS3). 

They’ll be thoroughly tested at Yokohama.  

“It’s a completely stacked field,” Francis said.  

“There are literally athletes that have flown from around the world just with the hope of the waitlist opening up and someone dropping out and them being able to actually get a slot. 

“It’s a really high-quality field, most of the best Para-triathletes are here trying to secure their qualification.” 

Francis is confident in her own form after her maiden Series win at Devonport in March.   

“Preparation has been really good, we’ve been really working on refining my bike skills and my transition techniques,” she said. 

“Training has been going better than ever and we’ve just been practising to see what’s working, what needs tweaking in the lead up to Paris. 

“I’m up against the current world champion so I’m really excited to just get out there and see what I can do.” 

The course that awaits competitors 40 kilometres south of central Tokyo includes a 750 metre swim, 20 kilometre bike leg and a five kilometre run. 

World No.1 Parker last weekend secured three gold medals at the Para-Cycling Road World Cup in Belgium, as she continues her quest to qualify for two sports at the Paralympics. 

The two remaining Series events after Yokohama are in Swansea and Montreal next month. 

By Natalie McGarry, Paralympics Australia.

Images from World Triathlon.

Published 10 May, 2024.