Paratriathon’s superstars, Rio gold medallist, Katie Kelly and five time World Champion, Bill Chaffey will headline their sport’s debut at this weekend’s Jewel World Triathlon Gold Coast.
Kelly teamed up with triathlon legend Michellie Jones to win a Paralympic gold medal on debut in Rio and Chaffey has dominated his sport for years over multiple distances, including finishing second at the Ironman World Championship in Kona on debut in 2013.
Both are delighted to be included in the Jewel Gold Coast Triathlon program, to introduce a new audience of sports fans to the fast and furious world of elite paratriathlon and to have the opportunity of racing in their own backyard in front of family and friends.
Kelly, a strong advocate for inclusive sport and said her Olympic Gold medal moment left her both relieved and proud.
"Relieved that the most intense period I’d had experienced for some time was over, but also very proud to have been able to represent my country, and the sport of triathlon at a Paralympics."
"Paratriathlon is unbelievable spectacle and it is a tremendous recognition for the Gold Coast to be hosting the World Triathlon Series races and the World Paratriathlon Series event."
"The competition is fierce and the athleticism is outstanding. The sport is truly inclusive covering classifications from the wheelchair, to the upper and lower amputee to the vision impaired. It truly is a remarkable race to watch."
"In many ways this weekend is a perfect test event for the 2018 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games. There is a great buzz around the Gold Coast with many elite squads across various sports also preparing for the Commonwealth Games," she said.
Chaffey said it is important for him to be competing for many reasons and he can’t wait to get into action.
"The Gold Coast is where I won my first World Championships in 2009, so I love the venue. I also have so much support here and not everyone can travel the world with me to see me race, so it is fantastic to be able to race in front of my supporters and alongside professionals, age groupers and para athletes."
"Equally significant is that the weekend combines the Luke Harrop Memorial Race which is important to me given Luke was killed when, like me, he was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike."
Chaffey is delighted that the Gold Coast ITU World Paratriathlon is doubling as Commonwealth Games selection race for the PT1 classification, with the first Aussie over the line to receive automatic qualification.
"GC2018 is my major focus right now. While I will do my best in all my races between now and then, my sights are squarely set on competing in the Commonwealth Games in my home town."
"Triathlon has been in the Commonwealth Games for some time and it is great the wheelchair section is now joining the ranks. Integrating elite able bodied and para athletes together is really important to me and I look forward to other categories of para triathlon joining us in future Commonwealth Games," Chaffey said.
In season 2017, the World Paratriathlon Series (WPS) has three stops that coincide with the World Triathlon Series in the Gold Coast, Yokohama and Edmonton.