Kerr competes in debut PTWC race at Commonwealths

David Kerr Rottedam GF 2017

Northern Ireland's David Kerr takes the startline in the PTWC race for H1 and H2 paratriathletes at the Commonwealth Games tommorow Saturday, 7th April. A historic day is on the cards as it is the first time that paratriathlon has featured at a Commonwealth Games, following the addition of the Mixed Team Relay event at the Glasgow games in 2014.

It will be all to play for in tomorrow's race, as Triathlon Ireland's High Performance Paratriathlon Technical Director, Eamonn Tilley, outlines; 

"The last international took place in Devonport in February 2018 where Bill Chaffery, H2 athlete, took the spoils with the fastest swim, bike and race chair to claim gold on the day and this puts him in serious contention to claim the gold medal this Saturday. The race for the other medals could come from Joseph Townsend and Nic Beveridge, both are very strong athletes. However, anything can happen on the day in any of the three disciplines."

PTWC Men and Women race together

There are two categories of paratriathletes competing in the PTWC event tomorrow, H1 and H2, over the sprint distance race will run over the same course as the individual elite athletes last Thursday. The PTWC H1 men and women start at the same time, followed by the H2 men three minutes later. At the three minutes, fifty eight seconds mark, the H2 women begin. Across the two categories, the first three men and first three women to cross the line will win medals.

David Kerry_GC2018

New Commonwealth games Record

In their preview of the race, the ITU highlights the growth of parasport at the games to record levels. The full article is available at triathlon.org.

Six men will line up in the Southport Broadwater Parklands pontoon Saturday morning for the debut of Paratriathlon in the Commonwealth Games. And among them, two local favorites, Aussies Bill Chaffey and Nic Beveridge. Chaffey, a former triathlete who also suffered an accident and broke his back, has been competing in paratriathlon races since 2008, but this will be his best chance of grabbing a medal in Major Games, after finishing fourth in Rio 2016, in the debut of paratriathlon in the Paralympic Programme. His teammate, Beveridge, is also aiming for his best result on a major event.

Some experience on being in the podium in the big ocassions has English Joseph Townsend. The Royal Marine Commando lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008, and he started competing in paratriathlon in July 2011. Since then, he has earned a number of podiums, including a third place in 2017 World Championships in Rotterdam, but is also vying for his first medal on major Games.

Along with them, the third Aussie competing will be Scott Crowley, while Ireland will be represented with David Kerr and Mark Conway will be representing England.

Gold Coast will set a new Commonwealth Games record by hosting up to 300 paraathletes and 38 medal events across seven sports - an increase of 45 per cent more athletes and 73 per cent more medals compared to the parasport competition staged at the last Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. Athletics, Swimming, Lawn Bowls, Powerlifting, Track Cycling, Table Tennis and Triathlon will all be contested during Games, with Paratriathlon making its debut this Saturday.

first year of international competition

Impressively, Kerr (36) from Portadown is in his first full year of international competition. He has worked hard to make big improvements to his swimming over the last number of month's, as Eamonn Tilley highlights;

"This is David's first serious year of international competition, he has worked very hard over the winter with his team of Triathlon Ireland coaches and has knuckled down to some serious blocks of training in the run-up to what is his first goal for 2018. He competes against the best in the world in his PTWC class, excluding the Dutch contenders of Platz and Schipper, and looks to achieve some personal bests."

"Considering only 16 months ago David could just about get around 750 meters swims in 30 mins, now he is swimming under 14 minutes. This gives hope to all paratriathletes. He has been pushed hard by the team over the last couple of months and especially by S&C coach, Andrea Nash." 

"David has balanced his work, training and life around his goals and ambitions, he is a strong swimmer and has improved in all 3 disciplines over the last 6 months...David has the drive, passion and the hunger to chase what he believes is an achievable goal of a personal best at the Commonwealth Games."

David's thoughts on travelling to the Commonwealth Games

You can see the full start list for the race on triathlon.org.

Coverage will be live on the BBC Red Button, start time is 12.31am in Ireland.