British paratriathlete Rhiannon Henry made a stunning debut in South Africa last weekend with a gold in her first ever triathlon, as part of a GB team that picked up six superb medals at the 2015 Buffalo City ITU World Paratriathlon Event.
Henry was competing in the women’s PT5 category (visually impaired), and finished nearly 5mins ahead of her teammate Melissa Reid, who took silver. Another gold was taken by Clare Cunningham, racing in the women’s PT4 category (impaired limb mobility), finishing nine minutes ahead of French athlete Gwladys Lemoussu.
Andy Lewis and Ryan Taylor won silver and bronze in the PT2 category (impaired limb mobility, less severe than PT4), and George Peasgood won an excellent silver medal in the PT4 category. Lewis races with a right leg running blade, whilst Taylor, 21, is a former member of the England cerebral palsy football team. Another youngster, Peasgood, is just 19 years old.
Full medals as follows:
1. Clare Cunningham, GBR, 1:17:38
1. Rhiannon Henry, GBR, 1:11:46 (guided by Nicole Walters)
2. Melissa Reid, GBR, 1:16:23 (guided by Grace France)
1. Stephane Bahier, FRA, 1:16:54
2. Andrew Lewis, GBR, 1:19:41
3. Ryan Taylor, GBR, 1:20:11
1. Yannick Bourseaux, FRA, 1:06:21
2. George Peasgood, GBR, 1:08:17
The GB British Paratriathlon squad will miss the next round of the Series in Australia and resume racing in the Series in Madrid in May. The team have Rio qualification firmly in their sights this year, with a great chance of performing well in all six paratri medal events confirmed for next year’s Olympics.
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British paratriathletes enjoyed dazzling success at the ITU Grand Final in Edmonton, Canada last year, with the 13-strong squad collecting eight world championship medals including two golds, four silvers and two bronzes, spanning classes from PT1 to PT5.
(Images: British Triathlon / James Mitchell)