Paratriathlon daredevil Bill Chaffey has given an ironclad guarantee he will be fit to make his Commonwealth Games debut on April 7 despite almost crashing out in the Australian Triathlon Sprint Championship Luke Harrop Memorial on the Gold Coast today.
It was a day that saw the Championships switched to a Duathlon after poor water quality (following the Gold Coast’s week of rain) gave race organizers no alternative but to replace the 750m swim with a 2.5km run and adding it to the 20km bike and five kilometre run.
But it did not stop the tough-as-teak Chaffey from showing exactly what he is made of in pursuit of Commonwealth Games gold – declaring he will be ready.
“I will be 100 percent at the Games and I’ll be leading the charge,” declared Gold Coaster Chaffey after being officially named in the six-strong paratriathlon team who will join the already selected six Elites, forming a team of 12 for the Games assault.
“I’ve got a couple of little scratches, but I’ve had worse shaving.”
The 42-year-old father of two and five-time ITU Paratriathlon World Champion has promised to “slow down” ever so slightly to ensure he will be on the start line when his sport makes its Games debut.
Chaffey crashed out twice, the second time in spectacular fashion, tumbling out of his racing wheelchair just 200m from the finish line, spinning off into the barriers as Age Group competitors helped him back into the saddle – a fall that cost him the National title.
It allowed Victoria’s two-time National cycling champion and paratriathlon newcomer Alex Welsh to scoot past Chaffey and claim the gold medal.
“I treat every race like it’s a world championship; I go 100 percent all the time and sometimes that can be my downfall,” admitted Chaffey, the fearless Tweed Heads police prosecutor.
“And it was a little bit like that today, going too fast for the course conditions and the traffic that was on the course.
“It brought me undone twice but I feel alright…I’ve got a little bit of a sore shoulder, a sore finger, a couple of scratches but nothing that’s going to stop me.
“I will be back in the pool tomorrow morning at 5am and I’ll just continue the training as I’ve been going along (to this point).
“I’ve entered a race at Mooloolaba in two weeks; it’s my favourite race in the world. I’ve raced a lot of places but I still love Mooloolaba the best.
“I’ll race that but I might knock it back to 99.95 percent; I don’t won’t any more mishaps before the Games and it’s double the distance. That’s why I think it will be a really good final run for me.”
Chaffey joined his team mates in front of a large crowd of family, friends, supporters and the cream of Australia’s Age Groupers and spectators who were on hand to congratulate and welcome the team of six with already nominated Chaffey and reigning world champion Emily Tapp (ACT) joined by Paralympian Nic Beveridge (QLD) and former wheelchair basketballer Scott Crowley (SA) in the men’s team and Lauren Parker (NSW) and Sara Tait (QLD) on the women’s team.
“We are all here as one team, unified, and it’s a great announcement to happen here on the Gold Coast,” said Chaffey.
“The competition is red hot. These guys (Beveridge and Crowley) are right up there. Guys from the other Commonwealth Games will give it a real big push and will be great entertainment for people to come out and watch at the Commonwealth Games and hopefully I can bring it home.
“Even though I did have some mishaps today, I am in great form, the best form I have ever been in.”
By Triathlon Australia