With the Oceania Paratriathlon Championships having wrapped up yesterday in bad weather in Penrith, New South Wales, Bill Chaffey, Sally Pilbeam, Brant Garvey, Justin Godfrey, Jack Swift, Claire McLean, Casey Hyde, Jonathan Goerlach all came away winners in their classifications. The course featured a 750 meter swim, 20 kilometer bike ride and 5 kilometer run.
Claire McLean won the women’s PT4 class with a time of 1:20.04.She beat Kate Doughty by two and a half minutes to claim first place. McLean has a history of doing well at big events. She won a bronze at the 2012 ITU Triathlon World Championships in Auckland. She comes into the sport from cycling, having won a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens in the women’s time trial LC1-4/CP 3/4 event.
With a time of 1:28.34, twenty-seven year old Casey Hyde won the women’s PT5 Elite class. This performance built on last year’s victories, including first place finished at the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Edmonton and the 2014 Elwood ITU World Paratriathlon Event. Her first place finish improved on her second place finish last year on the same course in the 2014 Penrith OTU Paratriathlon Oceania Championships. Hyde is a visually impaired competitor and competes with a guide. She uses a separate guide for each leg of the competition.
Jonathan Goerlach’s first place finish in a time of of 1:11.44 in the PT5 Elite men’s race was seven minutes faster than Daniel Searle who had a time of 1:19.43. His performance was better than some of his performances last year where he had a tenth place finish in the 2014 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Edmonton and a fifth place finish in the 2014 Chicago ITU World Paratriathlon Event. His time was also slower than last year’s first place finish in the same event.
A number of competitors were preparing for their Paralympic qualification run as the sport makes its debut on the program. Qualification opens July 1 of this year and closes on June 30, 2016. In this period, competitors need to be internationally ranked in the top six on a qualification list. The top finishers in each class at the 2015 ITU World Championships also automatically qualify. Each NPC is allowed no more than two competitors in each classification. If extra spaces remain after the host country gets its automatic qualification of one male and female competitor, the remaining spots can be filled throughBipartite Commission Invitation Allocation.