Gold for Dave as he prepares to defend UK title

Marlpool paratriathlete Dave Ellis returned to gold medal-winning ways at the weekend in the Iseo–Franciacorta ITU World Paratriathlon Event in Italy.

The 27-year-old, who represented his country as a swimmer at the 2008 Paralympics, is only in his second season as a paratriathlete.

His first season saw him win the British, European and World titles in his category, while this year he has raced four times so far, claiming two silvers and two golds.

Next up will be the chance to retain his title at the British Championships, in Liverpool on August 10, and he hopes to compete in the World Championships later in the year.

Dave explained: “It was a tough race in Italy. The temperatures were in the high 20s so that was a big factor but I thought I coped with it well.”

A new ruling meaning that completely blind athletes get a 3mins 45secs head start on visually-impaired competitors such as Dave has been an additional factor for him overcome this season, but he said: “To catch them, I have to be really spot on and they have to be a little bit off it, but I did that in Italy.”

Points accumulated during the World Triathlon Series will decide whether Dave is selected to defend his title at the World Championships but he feels it’s a case of ‘so far, so good’.

“I’ve not definitely made it yet but I am ranked second in the world so I feel I’ve got a very good chance, and I got silver at the recent European Championships too.

“I’ve raced well in all four races so far this season and now the next challenge is the British Championships, with lots of training to do before then!”

Dave’s fellow Marlpool paratriathlete Phil Hogg opted to miss the Italian event to focus on the Liverpool race.

Phil, 44, a former GB wheelchair basketball international, is also in his second season as a paratriathlete, and won the European and British titles in 2013.

This year, he has two silvers and a gold from his three races. Phil’s last outing was a silver in the European Championships in Kitbuhel, Austria.

He explained: ”Under the circumstances, I was happy with silver there. If you think about it, I’ve only been racing triathlons for a year, and, for five months of that, over the winter, I was too ill to train. I was pretty poorly and had to go into hospital three times so I’m still playing catch-up.

“But I’ve had three races this season and I’ve had a gold and two silvers so far so I have to be happy with that.”

He added: “It’s about keeping healthy and injury free and I’ve done that so far this season. But I’ve got loads more to come in terms of performance.

“Ultimately, I want to be going to Canada to compete in the World Championships. I’m currently ranked number two in my category in the world so there’s a good chance but nothing is etched in stone. I decided to miss Italy and instead I’m into a really big, concentrated block of training between now and the British Championships in Liverpool because I’ve got a title to defend.”

and some hard work to do before I go up there.”