Canberra’s Katie Kelly took a step closer to her dream of competing in next year’s Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro today with a gold medal performance at the Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon Event guided by World Champion and Olympic silver medallist Michellie Jones.
In just her second World Paratriathlon Event (WPE) and the pair’s first time racing together it could well set Australia up for another exciting era with Kate Doughty also taking gold in the PT4, Emily Tapp gold in the PT1category and Justin Godfrey and Matt Brumby both winning bronze in the PT3 and PT1 divisions respectively.
Kelly was born with Usher Syndrome, a rare deaf and blind degenerative condition and was only recently formally classified as a PT5 athlete after her eyesight had deteriorated to a legally blind status.
That has not slowed down this amazing 40-year-old, in fact it has urged her on to even greater achievements.
It was a dominating performance from Kelly and Jones, who led from the gun, made even more impressive given the wet and difficult conditions over the sprint distance course (750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run).
Despite all the challenges that were thrown at them today Kelly and Jones not only handled them, but also thrived in the conditions.
“It was probably more challenging for MJ on the bike but once we did a couple of laps and knew the course it was pretty good,” said Kelly.
“This is the first time we raced together, that’s always something different but in terms of swimming in the harbor, the ride and the run, great crowd support and really well organized event, we had a lot of fun.
But champions always rise to the top and Jones did that today for her partner although it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
“For the first time riding the tandem in a race, it was good. For me the technical aspect was perfect because it taught me a lot really quickly,” said Jones, a reigning ITU World Age Group Champion who was happy to step up when Triathlon Australia’s Paratriathlon head coach Corey Bacon asked her to guide Kelly.
GOLD Emily TAPP (PT1)
GOLD Kate DOUGHTY (PT4)
GOLD Katie KELLY (PT5)
BRONZE Matt BRUMBY (PT1)
BRONZE Justin GODFREY (PT3)
4th Glen JARVIS (PT2)
Article provided by Triathlon Australia.
Photos credit to Delly Carr/ITU.
Katie Kelly & Michellie Jones running towards the finish line
Katie Kelly & Michellie Jones after the finish line