University of Bath graduate Nicole Walters helped Melissa Reid pick up a gold medal and qualification points for Rio 2016 at the World Paratriathlon Championships in Chicago.
Walters is the guide for visually-impaired Reid and the pair made a fantastic start to their week as they won gold in the ITU Aquathlon World Championships (swim, run).
Then, in the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final (swim, bike, run), they got off to a strong start in the women’s PT5 race and were second to fellow Brits Alison Patrick and Hazel Smith as they exited the water.
Eventual gold-medallists Katie Kelly and guide Michellie Jones of Australia took the lead on the bike but Reid and Walters kept with them and were moving away from the field when they suffered a real-wheel puncture.
“This meant riding 4km to the wheel station with a flat tyre so we could change it, slowly watching our medal hopes disappear,” said Walters, a Sport & Exercise Science graduate who trains at the Sports Training Village.
“All was not lost, though, and Melissa was able to hold on to sixth position, securing qualification points for next year’s Paralympic Games in Rio.
“Although this was a disappointing result, we finish the year with a gold medal at the London World Series event, bronze at the European Championships and silver at the Rio test event. Things are looking up for 2016!”
Paratriathlon will make its Paralympic Games debut at the Rio Games, with athletes tackling a 750m swim, 20km bike ride and 5k run.
Former Team Bath swimmer David Hill, racing for only the second time this year due to injury, was a fine seventh in the men’s PT4 race.
Hill swam for Great Britain at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.