Katie Kelly is after a second Paralympic Gold in the Para-triathlon at Tokyo 2020

Katie Kelly is after a second Paralympic Gold in the Para-triathlon at Tokyo 2020. Photo: Triathlon Australia

Australia will be sending one of the strongest para-triathlon teams to Tokyo in August featuring Katie Kelly who is after her second gold medal.

Australia will be sending one of the strongest Para-triathlon teams to the Paralympics in Tokyo, including world number one Lauren Parker and reigning Paralympic Gold Medallist Katie Kelly.

Kelly’s win in the PT5 classification at Rio 2016 was Australia’s first Paralympic Triathlon Gold medal, she was guided by Michellie Jones and won with a time of 1:12:18 a minute ahead of the silver medalist.

In Tokyo Kelly will compete in the PTVI classification with Briarna Silk as her guide as she chases a second gold medal.

46-year-old Kelly welcomed the new team and believes the squad is both excited and thankful to be headed to Tokyo in August.

“It’s an outstanding team,” Kelly said. “There are some outstanding athletes who’ve been in the triathlon game for a long time and are really ready to make their mark in Tokyo.

“I think for all of us there’s just a great sense of gratitude at the moment. We’re so grateful the Games are going ahead, so grateful for the country we live in and being able to keep training over the last 12 months.

“Our hearts and thoughts have been with all our triathlon competitors overseas, especially in Spain and Italy where they’ve had some really tough times. We also have admiration for the courage of the Japanese in staging the Games.

“Being over in Yokohama to compete recently, I had a strong sense that they want to hold these Games and they’re doing everything possible to make sure it’s safe for the athletes and their own people.

“All that combined gives our Para-triathlon Team a real sense of excitement and gratitude that it’s happening. It’s going to be a really joyous celebration.”

Kelly will be joined by Paralympic debutants Lauren Parker in the PTWC classification, chasing her first Paralympic Gold and backing up her 2019 World Championship victory. Emily Tapp, current world number three is another strong medal contender in the PTWC classification.

Nick Beveridge returns for his second Paralympics in the PTWC classification looking to improve upon his ninth-place finish at Rio 2016 in the PT1 classification.

David Bryant will make his Paralympic debut in the PTS5 classification, as will Jonathan Goerlach and guide Dave Mainwaring in the PTVI classification.

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Kate McLoughlin, Chef de Mission of the Australian Team believes that this new squad has the capabilities to back up the standards set by the team in Rio.

“I’m thrilled to welcome these exceptional athletes to the Australian Paralympic Team,” McLoughlin said.

“Para-triathlon is an absorbing physical and mental test and the group we’ve named today are as tough and driven as they come.

“Each of them has set incredibly high standards since Rio and their opportunity now is to convert that on the biggest stage and show the world what an awesome Australian Para-triathlon Team we have.”

Paralympics Australia Chief Executive Lynne Anderson acknowledged these games could set Australia up as a para-triathlon powerhouse.

“We know how challenging it’s been to prepare for these Games, which makes the achievement of the athletes, their coaches and the staff at Triathlon Australia all the more worthy of our admiration,” Anderson said.

“This squad will head to Tokyo with a fierce determination to establish Australia as a powerhouse in Para-triathlon and I’m backing them to accomplish exactly that.”

Triathlon Australia’s Paratriathlon Lead Kyle Burns believes the squad will make the most of the second para-triathlon at the Paralympics.

“Since Rio, there has been a dedication to putting a performance environment around each athlete and allowing them to have the resources to reach their potential,” Burns said.

“The program is older and wiser and led by TA’s Performance Director Justin Drew, it is aimed at maximising the talent of our Para-athletes in what is a relatively young but very competitive sport.

“The athletes go to Tokyo with a clear objective to perform in the biggest race of their careers and they look forward to representing their country, Paralympics Australia, and Triathlon Australia on the world stage.”

Lauren ParkerPTWCDebut
Emily TappPTWCDebut
Katie KellyBriarna SilkPTVI2nd (2016)
Nick BeveridgePTWC2nd (2016)
David BryantPTS5Debut
Jonathan GoerlachDave MainwaringPTVIDebut

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