Paratriathlon aces start season in a winning style

Marlpool paratriathletes Dave Ellis and Phil Hogg have carried on where they left off after a superb first season of competitive action.

Dave, who represented his country as a swimmer at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, won the World, European and British championships in his category last year, while Phil, the former GB international wheelchair basketball player, won the British and European titles and came fourth at the Worlds.

Both have had to battle setbacks during the winter, ahead of their second seasons, but returned to action in fine style last weekend to win golds in Japan at the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama.

During this series of races, points are picked up which help competitors in their bid to qualify for the World and European championships.

Both Phil and Dave had to tackle a 750m swim, 20k bike ride and 5k run/wheelchair race.

Dave, 27, competing in the visually impaired class, was more than happy with how things went in his first race of the season. “I had a shin injury during the winter which put me behind schedule a bit but I felt pretty good going into it and was very happy to get a win.

“There had talk of a rule change whereby the completely blind athletes get a 3mins 45secs head start and they brought it in just before the race. Obviously that is a lot to make up over the course of an hour’s race but we did it, and so we were pleased with how it went.

“The water was particularly choppy but that played to my strengths really, and I’m looking forward to going down to London to do my thing and we’ll see what happens - hopefully another win!”

For Phil, 44, the winter was plagued by illness from around late November onwards.

“It was a frustrating and worrying winter because while the other athletes in your field are out there getting quality training sessions in, I was laid up in hospital at times.

“I’ve only had about eight weeks of full training going into Yokohama and I felt a bit fatigued during it but I really felt I delivered on the day and I was able to put the demons to bed and draw a line umder the winter. The swimming was tough, in the open sea. It was really choppy, a hostile environment but I felt I was able to deal well with it.”

“I was very happy to have to got a win saw it as reward for all the people who support me

“It’s great that the next race in the series is in London on May 31 and I’m looking forward to racing on home soil.”