Chicago, USA -Â Ten paratriathletes were crowned World Champions on the second day of competition at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago. Australia awed the crowds with an impressive three wins, with Bill Chaffey scoring his fifth PT1 World Championship title, while Sally Pilbeam scored her second consecutive PT3 world title and Katie Kelly made her debut on top of the women’s PT5 podium with guide Olympic silver medallist Michelle Jones. USA also prevailed on home soil with a sweep of the podium in the women’s PT2 sport class.
In the women’s field, AustralianÂ Katie KellyÂ along with guideÂ Michellie Jones, claimed their first World Championship title after a come-from-behind victory. The swim and bike legs saw a close battle between Great Britain’sÂ Alison PatrickÂ andÂ Melissa Reid, who interchangeably took the lead. It was after the second transition when Kelly gained on the Brits and was able to brush by them to take the front position. Ultimately the Aussie was able to seize the win. Patrick followed 30 seconds later to take the silver medal.Â Susana RodriguezÂ (ESP) also stunned by pulling through on the last lap of the run to overtake Reid and earn the bronze medal.
â€œJust being a part of it all, there’s an amazing bond between the athletes in paratriâ€ Kelley said. â€œIt’s a real honour just being a part of the World Champs, apart from the gold.â€
â€œKatie wasn’t 100%, we weren’t 100% on our fitness, but we wanted to get enough points to get to Rio,â€ Jones said. â€œYou couldn’t ask for a better athletes (in Katie).
Aaron ScheidiesÂ (USA) walked away with the gold medal in the men’s PT5 for the second consecutive time after maintaining the lead for the entirety of the race. The victory on home soil gave him a back-to-back World Champion title. The silver medal went toÂ Vasyl ZakreyskyiÂ (UKR) and finishing in third wasÂ Lukasz Wietecki(POL).
A the first sport class to be contested on Friday,Â Stefan DanielÂ (CAN) was the first athlete to take down the finish tape, taking home his first world title with it in men’s PT4. Daniel had a phenomenal comeback victory after he trailed behind Germany’sÂ Martin SchulzÂ for the first half of the race. Schulz led out of the swim and first two laps on the bike, but lost momentum. As athletes rounded into the second transition area, Daniel, Schulz andÂ Yannick BourseauxÂ (FRA) blasted out onto the run neck and neck. It was then when Daniel proved worthy of a World Championship when he was able to make a move to get away from his rivals and create enough distance between himself to easily stroll into the finish line and claim the gold medal. Schulz finished with the silver medal, while Bourseaux took home the bronze.
With the win, Daniel also qualified himself a spot on Team Canada for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.
â€œThe swim was a battle, I had to give everything on the bike,â€ Daniel said. â€œI’m so happy right now, to win that, it’s been my goal since I was a kid. I didn’t have any pressure on myself this race. I had a good year and I wanted to give it everything I could. The goal was to win today, now I have my Rio qualification out of the way and now I can focus on next year.â€
In the women’s race,Â Lauren SteadmanÂ (GBR) completely crushed the field by holding onto a lead that she earned early. As she exited the waters she was up by over a minute and never lost any time throughout the whole race. She earned the gold medal and a consecutive World Championship title without any threat. Second place went toÂ Grace NormanÂ (USA) who impressively overtookÂ Kate DoughtyÂ (AUS) in the run to get the silver medal, while Doughty ran over for bronze.
â€œIt’s a fantastic feeling, I’m really pleased,â€ Steadman said. â€œThe girls are fiercely competitive and I knew I had to do something really well to win. I didn’t have the best swim so I tried to pull up on the bike, which I did. And then on the run I just tried to have the best run of my life.â€
Oliver DreierÂ (AUT) took home the World Champ title in the men’s PT3 race. Dreier trailed in the first two disciplines of the race, but was able to take the lead after a noteworthy performance on the run. His gold medal signaled a comeback after coming in second place in the 2014 World Championships. Silver was awarded to the lead swimmer,Â Alejandro Sanchez PalomeroÂ (ESP), while the bronze went to AustralianÂ Justin Godfrey.
In the women’s race, Australia claimed yet another World Championship afterÂ Sally PilbeamÂ finished strong to walk away with the gold medal. Joining her on the podium was compatriotÂ Kerryn HarveyÂ andÂ Saskia Van Den OudenÂ (NED).
USA swept the podium yet again in the women’s sport class.Â Allysa SeelyÂ grabbed her first World Championship title after outrunning compatriotsÂ Melissa StockwellÂ andÂ Hailey Danisewicz. While the race was first controlled by Finland’sÂ Liisa Lilja, who came out of the swim in the front and then held onto the lead for the first couple of laps on the bike. Stockwell then pushed through to overtake Lilja and stake claims on getting to the podium in her hometown city. But down to the last wire, it was Seely who came out on top. Danisewicz took second place and was followed by Stockwell for the bronze. The trio also shared the podium at the Rio Test Event.
â€œThe girls on my team are the strongest in the country and in the world, so I was really just here to show that I’m a competitor, too and I want to be in Rio,â€ Seeley said. â€œSo I’m ecstatic with this finish and it couldn’t have gone better. I was hoping just for a podium so to stand on the top, I’m really proud.â€
In the men’s race, ItalianÂ Michele FerrarinÂ was deemed victorious after trailing in the water.Â Mark BarrÂ (USA) dominated in the swim and headed into the first transition to start out on the bike. Ferrarin was quick to get caught up however and took control. He maintained the lead up until the finish line where he grabbed his World Champion title and top of the podium. The silver medal went toÂ Stephane BahierÂ (FRA) and the bronze was awarded toÂ Ryan TaylorÂ (GBR).
Bill ChaffeyÂ completed a drive for five world championship titles when he cruised over the finish line with an estatic fist pump in the men’s PT1 sport class. Despite exiting the water at a deficit of 1:20 toÂ Jetze Platt, an unlucky flat tire for the Dutchman meant Chaffey had an opportunity to pull himself back into contention for the win. By the end of the four-lap course, Chaffey trailed Platt by just three seconds.
With his strongest discipline saved for last, Chaffey etched out a two-minute lead after the first of three laps, all but wrapping up the win. WhileÂ Krige SchabortÂ (USA) was attempting to reel the Aussie in, he ran out of room, as Chaffey wheeled over the finish line with a 1:17 advantage. Schabort, who won the men’s PT1 World Championship race last year, took silver while Plat rounded out the podium with bronze.
â€œIt’s unbelievable,â€ said Bill Chaffey. â€œI really never expected it today. I expected really tough competition and I got that. I was a long way behind coming out of the water. I got some luck. Jetze (Plat) got a flat tire. I didn’t want to win because someone else got a flat so I went as hard as I could and I’m really happy with how I went.â€
Kendall GretschÂ added a gold to the medal count for host country USA in the women’s race. Gretsch held onto a consistent lead throughout all three legs, dominating in the swim, bike and run.Â Emily TappÂ (AUS) picked up the silver medal andÂ Lizzie TenchÂ (GBR) made it to the final spot on the podium with bronze.
Results are availableÂ here.