Australia’s para triathletes have started their season campaign at the 2023 World Triathlon Para Series opener in Devonport, surviving challenging weather conditions. The event marks the beginning of the road to the 2024 Paralympics in Paris, and several athletes have their sights set on qualifying for the event.
Despite starting out in overcast conditions, with a wetsuit swim in the cool Tasmanian surf, the para triathletes faced challenging weather conditions, with drizzling rain causing some havoc with crashes on the bike and run legs. The sun eventually broke through during mid-morning, providing some relief for the athletes.
In the PTVI category, vision-impaired Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sam Harding and his guide Luke Harvey took a tumble as they negotiated the slippery surfaces, but they bounced back to secure a gold medal. Harding and Harvey are now setting their sights on the World Championships and the Paralympic Qualification race later this year in Montreal.
Newcastle’s three-time world champion Lauren Parker managed the technical turns to add her fifth Devonport victory as a paratriathlete in the PTWC category. Parker, who won silver at the Tokyo Paralympics, is aiming for her second Paralympics in Paris, with gold in her sights. Her teammate David Bryant and emerging star Jack Howell provided a 1-2 finish for Australia in the PTS5 category.
Meanwhile, Sally Pilbeam, a former world champion from Western Australia, made an impressive return to the winners' list in the PTS4 women’s category. Pilbeam said it was nice to race in Devonport again with very little wind, a cold swim, and a tricky T1 changeover before the rain made things a little sketchy with a few bikes coming down left, right, and center. Pilbeam is now focused on the Paralympic Games in Paris, which is the first time her category has been included in the event.
The event was a big success with athletes such as Maggie Sandles and Felicity Cradick in the PTVI category, Justin Godfrey in the PTS3 category, Jeremy Peacock in the PTS4 category, Nic Beveridge in the PTWC category, and Glen Jarvis in the PTS2 category securing bronze medals.
The 2023 World Triathlon Para Series opener has set the stage for an exciting year of para triathlon, with athletes now gearing up for the World Championships and the Paralympic Qualification race later this year in Montreal.
Devonport 2023 World Para Series
Aussie Podium Getters
Lauren Parker (PTWC) | Gold
Sam Harding (PTVI) & Luke Harvey (Guide) | Gold
Maggie Sandles (PTVI) & Felicity Cradick (Guide) | Gold
Justin Godfrey (PTS3) | Gold
Jeremy Peacock (PTS4) | Gold
Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) | Gold
David Bryant (PTS5) | Gold
Jack Howell (PTS5) | Silver
Nic Beveridge (PTWC) | Bronze
Glen Jarvis (PTS2) | Bronze