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British para-triathletes ready to enter the history books

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on 15-07-2016 08:52

Meet the 11 athletes and two guides who will compete for ParalympicsGB and make history in just over 50 days’ time, as the sport makes its debut onto the Paralympic programme at Rio 2016.

Great Britain has qualified the highest number of slots of any country in this sport, meaning it will be the best represented when the athletes take to the water and streets around Copacabana. 

Amongst the ParalympicsGB team are three recent European champions: Lauren Steadman, a swimmer turned triathlete, will compete in her third Games and goes into Rio as reigning World and European champion in the PT4 category; Andy Lewis won the PT2 category; while Alison Patrick and her guide Hazel Smith successfully defended her European title at the 2016 European Championships in Lisbon.

"Para-triathlon makes its debut at the Rio Paralympics and I'm excited to experience the games in a new sport alongside my teammates." Lauren Steadman

Lauren Steadman said today: “This will be my third games representing Great Britain, and I feel honoured to be competing for my country once again! Para-triathlon makes its debut at the Rio Paralympics and I'm excited to experience the games in a new sport alongside my teammates. We are a strong team and it will be great to get out there and bring home that medal that I've trained so relentlessly for.”

Andy Lewis said: “I’m absolutely honoured to represent ParalympicsGB in Rio. I’ve only been doing triathlon for two years and started quite late, but I’ve put absolutely everything into it and given it my all and the hard work has paid off now I’ve been selected. 

“To be there and be part of history as triathlon makes its debut at the Games is just amazing. The sport is growing and growing and hopefully Rio will help encourage more people to get involved in triathlon.”

Patrick will compete alongside and against her British compatriot Melissa Reid and her guide Nicole Walters. Cornishwoman Reid finished second at the official Rio 2016 test event last year and will be hoping to secure a place on the podium again this summer. 

Melissa Reid said: “It’s everything I’ve worked for, so to be confirmed in the team for Rio is amazing. The support from everyone around me has been fantastic to get me to my first Paralympics. I hope to perform at my best in Rio and challenge for a spot on the podium.”

“To be there and be part of history as triathlon makes its debut at the Games is just amazing." Andy Lewis

In the PT1 category, for wheelchair users, 2016 European Championship bronze medallist Joe Townsend is selected, as is Phil Hogg who finished fifth at the same event. Andy Lewis is joined in the PT2 category in Rio by world championships bronze medallist, Ryan Taylor.

In the men’s PT4 event, George Peasgood and another swimmer-turned-triathlete David Hill are selected. Peasgood finished just ahead of team-mate Hill at the recent European Championships, securing fifth and Hill sixth. 

In the women’s equivalent category, Steadman is joined by Faye McClelland and Clare Cunningham, who finished in second and fourth behind Steadman at the Euros. Cunningham is selected for her third Games after two as a swimmer in the 1990s. 

Penny Briscoe, Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB, said: “Para-triathlon is a new sport for Rio 2016 and I think it will be thoroughly embraced by the crowds out in Rio: with such an iconic location at Copacabana and a combination of water sport and outdoor competition, I think this is going to be a fan favourite with the Brazilians!

“We have selected a fantastic squad with medal potential across the board and I know they will be aiming to repeat their incredible medal-winning performances from the past few seasons out in Rio.”

Jonathon Riall, Team Leader and Head Coach for Para-triathlon, said: “The last few years have been a race to qualify slots and to ensure that we are ready to take on anything that the rest of the world throws at us in competition. Standards are rising quickly in this sport because it is so new."

“I believe we have selected the best possible British team, which has the potential to win medals and make it’s mark as para-triathlon debuts at the Paralympic Games. I am looking forward to seeing them take to the biggest stage in disability sport.”

Today’s announcement takes the number of selected athletes to 201 from 18 sports. 

Selected athletes are:

Men:

Joe Townsend (PT1)
Home town: Eastbourne
Main training base: Loughborough

Phil Hogg (PT1)
Home town: Heanor
Main training base: Loughborough

Andy Lewis (PT2)
Home town: Lydney, Gloucestershire
Main training base: Loughborough

Ryan Taylor (PT2)
Home town: Derby
Main training base: Loughborough

David Hill (PT4)
Home town: Exmouth
Main training base: Loughborough

George Peasgood (PT4)
Home town: Saffron Walden
Main training base: Loughborough

Women:

Lauren Steadman (PT4)
Home town: Peterborough
Main training base: Portsmouth

Faye McClelland (PT4)
Home town: Eastbourne
Main training base: Loughborough

Clare Cunningham (PT4) 
Home town: Cambridge
Main training base: Loughborough

Alison Patrick (Guide Hazel Smith) (PT5)
Home town: Dunfermline
Main training base: Loughborough

Melissa Reid (Guide Nicole Walters) (PT5)    
Home town: Porthtowan
Main training base: Cornwall

Guide: Hazel Smith
Home town: Edinburgh
Main training base: Edinburgh

Guide: Nicole Walters
Home town: Derby
Main training base: University of Bath

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