As dates go, Saturday, September 10 will forever be etched in the mind of Heanor’s Phil Hogg.
Previously a keen Great Britain wheelchair racer, Hogg swapped one discipline for three to make his Paralympics bow in the shadow of Rio de Janeiro’s Fort Copacabana over the weekend.
Not only was it a first appearance at that level for Hogg, but it was also a first outing for the sport of triathlon at the Paralympic Games.
And while emotions may have been high, Hogg made sure to soak up the experience as he came home eighth in the men’s PT1 race, two places below ParalympicsGB teammate Joseph Townsend.
“Wow, that a day,” said Hogg, who finished in a time of 1:08.20 with the race won by Dutchman Jetze Plat.
“From sitting on the pontoon to swimming on that first buoy, I was absolutely loving every minute of it
“I loved the atmosphere and I loved the crowd, I had a cheeky smile to myself every now and then coming through transition.
“I got goosebumps knowing that I was taking part in a Paralympic Games featuring triathlon for the very first time.
“I’ve been in Rio for almost two weeks now, I’ve not felt like a Paralympian until actually crossing that line. It was one of the most special times of my life for sure.”
Recruited to triathlon via a British Triathlon Talent ID initiative, Hogg first raced in 2013, winning European gold in his debut season, while silvers have followed in 2014 and 2015 plus a world medal of the same colour in 2014.
In Rio, Hogg was sixth coming out of the 750m swim before dropping down to eighth after the 20km cycling stage.
He then maintained that position for the final 5km run with the 46-year-old happy with his efforts.
“I felt really strong on the swim, I was with a pack of three or four other athletes working together and that was great,” he added.
“Getting out of the water and onto the bike, the transition went really well. I got out onto the bike course, did everything I needed to do.
“It was really tough getting off the bike into the run, my arms were absolutely screaming.
“Two laps of the run were pretty brutal, you didn’t really get a rest. I was pushing as hard as I could but it was a really solid race for me.”
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