11 Sep 2016
Loughborough’s Andy Lewis wins first ever Paralympic triathlon gold
Loughborough based Andy Lewis wrote his name into the history books at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as he won the first ever para-triathlon gold medal.
Competing in the men’s PT2 event, the Loughborough Triathlon Performance Centre athlete took victory in a time of 1:11.49, nearly a minute quicker than silver medallist Michele Ferrarin of Italy, thanks to an outstanding run.
Lewis only competed in his first triathlon two years ago and he's already won everything he can as World, European and now Paralympic Games champion.
“I can’t believe that has happened. I’m just in shock, I’m Paralympic, World and European champion and perhaps I’ll have my first beer in two years now! When I came across that finish line, I held the tape in the air and wondered whether it was all real.
"Para-triathlon is a great addition to the Paralympics and it brings tears to my eyes that I’ll be able to tell my kids that I won this gold medal.”
There was plenty of other Loughborough interest in the inaugural Para-triathlon events, with Ryan Taylor seventh in the same race as Lewis. In the P1 race for wheelchair users, Joe Townsend was an impressive sixth, whilst in the P4 race George Peasgood and David Hill were seventh and tenth respectively.
Richard Whitehead, the current Paralympic, World and European champion put down his marker on The Games by setting a new Paralympic 200m record of 23.07, just outside the world record he set at the Anniversary Games in July. That saw the 40 year old win his heat and advance to the final as favourite.
“There was quite a bit of pressure as a defending champion, but it’s all about rewarding the audience out there today. I enjoy running and obviously winning is great, but hopefully people see me today and find some inspiration from that. I’m still pushing the boundaries of Paralympic sport. I feel like I’ve got so much more to offer and hopefully I can show that in the final.”
In the Powerlifting finals Micky Yule, another Loughborough based athlete, put in a good performance to finish sixth in the men’s -65kg category on his Paralympic debut. Yule, who trains in Loughborough’s Powerbase gym on a daily basis, produced a best lift of 180kg but had good efforts at 184kg and 187kg.
Elsewhere, the ParalympicsGB wheelchair basketballers secured a 50-45 win over Germany in a close fought encounter. With the score 24-24 at halftime, the British girls upped their game, with a strong final quarter including baskets from current Loughborough University student Amy Conroy seeing them across the line. Once again graduates Jude Hamer, Claire Griffiths and Laurie Williams played their part as the team look on course for a medal.