It was a case of ‘cream rises to the top’ on Thursday in Abu Dhabi at the 2022 World Paratriathlon Championship. Stars of the sport, including Dave Ellis, Susanna Rodriguez, Jetze Plat and Alex Hanquinquant were among the gold medal winners at Yas Marina on day one of the World Triathlon Championship Finals Abu Dhabi.
Not everyone had it easy though, as strong competition and some young talent coming through the ranks suggest that the lead-in to Paris 2024 will see the discipline continue to develop in both performance and strength-in-depth.
Here’s a rundown on the action.
PTVI Men: Another title for Dave Ellis
Odds-on favourite Dave Ellis, guided by Luke Pollard, made a great start with a fast swim at Yas Bay. That saw him reduce the 2:46 starting offset of the B2/3 (partially sighted) athletes to just 26 seconds at the swim exit, in which Antoine Perel (FRA) was first to complete the opening 750m swim of the B1 (fully blind) entries.
Competition is strong however, and Ellis was not going to simply be handed the title, he would have to earn it. Come the end of the bike, the Brit was first into T2 alongside the fast-riding Thibaut Rigaudeau (FRA), with Kyle Coon (USA) and Perel less than 45 seconds behind starting the 5km.
Ellis was able to pull away on the run and add another World Championship to the British, European and Commonwealth titles he has already won this year, all in tandem with Pollard. The all-European podium was a repeat of the 1/2/3 from WTPS Swansea.
PTVI Women: Rodriguez pushed to the limit
Paralympic champion Susanna Rodriguez (ESP) finished the opening discipline locked together with Annouck Curzillat (FRA), who had won earlier this year at the WTPS event in Swansea. Just over two minutes back – but having reduced her starting offset by a around a minute – was Alison Peasgood (Guided by Brooke Gillies).
From there, the Paralympic and World Champion would take control on the bike, starting the run 1:08 clear of Francesca Tarantello (ITA), followed by Curzillat (+1:40) and Peasgood (+2:50). Any thoughts it would be a cruise home were soon extinguished though, as the young Italian actually regained time on the run, to finish just 33 seconds back at the finish.
Another gold for Rodriguez, but the progress of Tarantello is certainly one to watch on the road to Paris 2024. Fantastic to see the depth of competition to increase year-on-year. After disappointment at the Commonwealth Games where she crashed out, Alison Peasgood matched the bronze medal she earned in Abu Dhabi last year.
PTWC Men: It’s Jetze… of course!
Such is the dominance of Jetze Plat, that I doubt even his closest competition would have predicted anything other than gold for the Dutch para sport legend. Another rapid swim saw him just 1:18 back at T1, having started close on three minutes after the hooter as a PTWC2 athlete, with the time offset relative to the most impaired (PTWC1) athletes.
From there it was one-way traffic, as he took the lead inside the first lap of the bike leg on the handcycle, en-route to finishing the race more than two minutes clear of Paralympic Games silver medallist, Florian Brungraber (AUT). Plat’s countryman, and recent Hour Record star, Geert Schipper, made it two Dutch athletes on the podium.
PTWC Women: Parker tops the podium
For the PTWC Women, the shadow of Tokyo 2020 and that remarkable race between Kendall Gretsch (USA) and Lauren Parker (AUS) meant that they were always going to be the athletes to watch. With Parker (PTWC1) starting 3:42 ahead of Gretsch (PTWC2), it’s always a game of catch-up for the American, and for much of the race it looked like, perhaps, we were heading towards another blue carpet sprint finish.
Parker completed the bike section 1:36 ahead, but with a slower transition, that was down to 1:03 starting the run. Gretsch continued to close, but Parker held strong to cross the line with a winning margin of 27 seconds and a third straight World Championship title.
PTS5 Men: Stefan Daniel runs to victory
Double Paralympic Games champion, Martin Schulz (GER) and bronze medallist from Tokyo, Stefan Daniel (CAN), were always expected to challenge for the podium. When they started the run almost shoulder-to-shoulder, the race was truly on.
Daniel was very impressive on the run when winning in Swansea earlier this year, and another similar display saw him rightly thrilled at the finish when he was able to take the win from the German legend.
PTS5 Women: No stopping Norman
Claire Cashmore and Grace Norman, as expected, were to the fore in the swim, but they also had Kamylle Frenette (CAN) for company as they headed towards their bikes.
Little separated them during the 20km ride either, but at the T2 dismount line it was Norman first, with a 25 second margin over Cashmore, the Canadian following a further 22 seconds later. That trio had finished 2/3/4 at Tokyo 2020, behind Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman. Would it be same again – but one place higher – today? Starting the run, Cashmore had reduced that to 15 seconds.
That was as close at the British defending champion would get however, as the fluid run style of the US athlete saw her return to the top of a World Championship podium in some style, with a very impressive run performance.
The hottest of hot favourites, Alexis Hanquinquant lead the way in the PTS4 swim, but with a faster transition, it was actually Australia’s Liam Twomey who was first across the bike mount line.
And that was about as much jeopardy as we got, as Alexis soon took his usual control and never looked like relinquishing it, just as he has in every race for several years now. It is going to take something very special to stop him taking home soil gold at Paris 2024.
In the PTS4 Women’s race, Andrea Miguelez Ranz (ESP) exited the swim in joint first place, alongside Great Britain’s Meg Richter. From that moment on though, she was never headed, and would go on the take the title ahead of the 2021 champion, Kelly Elmlinger.
The closest finish of the day was in the men’s PTS3 division, Rarely more than 20 seconds apart all day, Daniel Molina (ESP) and Nico Van Der Burgt (NED) battled all day long, trading the lead during the bike section, before the Spaniard was finally able to claim gold by just 18 seconds. They both step up one place from their silver and bronze medals last year.
Elise Marc took the women’s title, finishing a full 12 minutes clear of Sanne Koopman (NED).
I’d marked down Hailey Danz (USA) as women’s race favourite in our preview, and that played out to expectation, with the defending champion and Paralympic Games silver medallist taking victory. Exiting the water just behind Melissa Stockwell, Danz took the lead early in the bike section and went on to cross the line with a winning margin of more than a minute.
There was a similar narrative in the men’s PTS2 event, where Jules Ribstein added another French victory to defend his title in style.
World Paratriathlon Championships Results
Yas Bay, Abu Dhabi – Thursday 24 November 2022
750m / 2km / 5km
PTVI – Men
- 1. Dave Ellis (GBR) – 59:13 (Guide: Luke Pollard)
- 2. Thibaut Rigaudeau (FRA) – 1:00:17
- 3. Antoine Perel (FRA) – 1:01:17
- 7. Oscar Kelly (GBR) – 1:02:21 (Guide: Charlie Harding)
PTVI – Women
- 1. Susanna Rodriguez (ESP) – 1:08:10
- 2. Francesca Tarantello (ITA) – 1:08:43
- 3. Alison Peasgood (GBR) – 1:10:59 (Guide: Brooke Gillies)
PTWC – Men
- 1. Jetze Plat (NED) – 57:57
- 2. Florian Brungraber (AUT) – 1:00:15
- 3. Geert Schipper (NED) – 1:00:48
PTWC – Women
- 1. Lauren Parker (AUS) – 1:08:43
- 2.Kendall Gretsch (USA) – 1:09:09
- 3. Jessica Ferreira (BRA) – 1:11:12
- 5. Melissa Nicholls (GBR) – 1:14:07
PTS2 – Men
- 1. Jules Ribstein (FRA) – 1:08:02
- 2. Lionel Morales (ESP) – 1:09:21
- 3. Wim De Paepe (BEL) – 1:09:53
PTS2 – Women
- 1. Hailey Danz (USA) – 1:19:08
- 2. Melissa Stockwell (USA) – 1:20:24
- 3. Anu Francis (AUS) – 1:21:17
PTVS3 – Men
- 1. Daniel Molina (ESP) – 1:10:35
- 2. Nico Van Der Burgt (NED) – 1:10:53
- 3. Max Gelhaar (GER) – 1:13:10
- 4. Colin Wallace (GBR) – 1:15:25
PTS3 – Women
- 1. Elise Marc (FRA) – 1:20:13
- 2. Sanne Koopman (NED) – 1:32:16
PTS4 – Men
- 1. Alexis Hanquinquant (FRA) – 1:00:45
- 2. Pierre-Antoine Baele (FRA) – 1:02:32
- 3. Jeremy Peacock (CAN) – 1:03:58
- 7. Finley Jakes (GBR) – 1:06:59
PTS4 – Women
- 1. Andrea Miguelez Ranz (ESP) – 1:12:53
- 2. Kelly Elmlinger (USA) – 1:14:32
- 3. Marta Frances Gomez (ESP) – 1:15:45
- 4. Megan Richter (GBR) – 1:18:52
PTS5 – Men
- 1. Stefan Daniel (CAN) – 58:24
- 2. Martin Schulz (GER) – 59:13
- 3. Chris Hammer (USA) – 1:00:50
- 8. Michael Salisbury (GBR) – 1:03:55
PTS5 – Women
- 1. Grace Norman (USA) – 1:05:59
- 2. Claire Cashmore (GBR) – 1:07:21
- 3. Kamylle Frenette (CAN) – 1:08:52