Bill Chaffey has kicked off 2014 with a world-first at the 2nd Annual Australian and Oceania Paratriathlon Championships in Penrith over the weekend (January 10-12).
The four-time world champion from the Gold Coast finished the sprint distance triathlon (750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run) in 58:22min – the fastest time ever recorded by a TRI-1 athlete.
Former Queenslander and Paralympic rowing medallist Erik Horrie finished second (1:09:37), with Nic Beveridge (Brisbane) finishing third (1:13:21).
“Although the swim wasn’t great, the rest felt really good and any time under the hour you have to be happy with,” said Chaffey.
“It is hard to compare times on different courses and weather conditions even on the same courses, but I’ll take a time under 60 minutes any day.”
Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association’s Most Improved Junior Athlete of the Year for 2013, 14-year-old Matthew Stark, was second in the men’s TRI-3 class (1:18:12). Matthew was the youngest competitor in the record field of 33 triathletes at the national championships.
Queenslander Debbie Wendt won the women’s TRI-3 category (1:34:40).
Paratriathlon will make its Paralympic debut at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. There are seven classes of paratriathlon competition for athletes with different physical disabilities or vision impairment. Depending on the class, an athlete may use a handcycle, tandem bicycle or bicycle on the cycle section, while wheelchairs are permitted on the run section.
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