Almost 12 years have passed since Heanor triathlete Dave Ellis last competed at the Paralympic Games, but that hasn’t stopped him from targeting another appearance at Tokyo in 2020.
The 32-year-old finished sixth as a swimmer at the 2008 Beijing Games, and is now gunning for success in Japan as a three-time para-triathlon world champion.
Ellis, who was first introduced to para-triathlon at a talent identification day in 2013, was devastated when his category was left out of the 2016 programme at the Rio Games, where the sport made its Paralympics debut. But when it was re-confirmed for Tokyo, he decided nothing, or no-one, will get in his way.
“The thought of getting back to another Paralympics is so exciting,” said Ellis.
“It feels like a long time hat I have been at the pinnacle of the sport. But while it’s been fantastic taking part in World Championships, I’m really looking forward to finally getting back to the Games.
“I have a long hard year of training ahead, but I will hopefully have something to look forward to at the end. I am working a lot in the heat chambers to get my body used to racing for an hour in a humid, hot setting.”
Ellis, who has less than ten per cent vision and races with a guide, was speaking at the Olympic Park in Stratford, where he joined 25 past and present British athletes to mark the 25-year anniversary of the National Lottery.
Before Lottery funding began for elite sport, Great Britain were ranked 36th in the medal table at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics. But at Rio, they finished second.
Ellis added: “At the Paralympics in 2008, I wouldn’t have been able to focus or even get there without the support of Lottery funding.
“I had a bit of a tougher journey afterwards, but I transferred to triathlon in 2013 and received funding then. Now they’re helping me in 2020.”
DISCOVER the positive impact playing the National Lottery has had on your community over the past 25 years by visiting www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk. Get involved by using the hashtag #NationalLottery25