Why it matters: Three-time world champion Lauren Parker is vying for her 10th consecutive win at the World Triathlon Para Series in Yokohama, building on her striking para-cycling debut in Belgium.
Setting the pace: Fresh from a successful stint at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup, Parker now confronts her 2020 Tokyo Paralympic champion, Kendall Gretsch. She's seeking to continue her winning streak in the para-triathlon realm while simultaneously eyeing a spot in both para-triathlon and para-cycling teams for the Paris Paralympics.
What they're saying:
- "Cycling Australia has been very accommodating and been fantastic with allowing Lauren to do the cycling event whilst her focus is still triathlon. Both sports allowing her to have a red-hot crack at cycling,” said Dan Atkins, Parker's coach.
- "She's being very self-sufficient and has got fantastic support whether that be in cycling or triathlon. A lot of people are rallying around her to help her out, she's making a lot of decisions for herself now and our athlete-coach relationship has gone to a whole new level," Atkins added.
- "Yokohama is an important race on the calendar to finalise and really sets the scene moving forward, with this being the last race before qualifying starts when they move into some pretty heavy racing,” said Kyle Burns, Paralympic Performance Manager for Triathlon Australia.
By the numbers:
- 1: The number of athletes aiming to secure a place in both para-triathlon and para-cycling teams for the Paris Games.
- 10: The number of consecutive wins Parker is hoping to achieve at the World Triathlon Para Series.
- 10: The number of Australian athletes participating in the Yokohama series.
Between the transition: As Parker progresses from para-cycling to para-triathlon, her journey highlights the increasing depth of Australia's para-triathlon talent. The Australian team boasts athletes like Tokyo Paralympian David Bryant, Sally Pilbeam, and the vision impaired duo Maggie Sandles and Caroline Baird, all showcasing their abilities in recent events.
Through time: Since her dramatic silver medal in Tokyo, Parker has garnered individual and relay victories across various locations from Australia to Abu Dhabi. A 10th consecutive win would further solidify her place in Paralympic history.
The bottom line: Lauren Parker's bid for a 10th straight World Triathlon Para-Tri victory is not only a testament to her remarkable talent and resilience but also a harbinger of Australia's growing prowess in para-sports. Her pursuit of a unique double-team spot in the Paris Paralympics could set new precedents for para-athletes worldwide.