It may have been just a week after his Commonwealth Games victory in Birmingham, but Derby’s Dave Ellis believes his gold at the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series in Swansea was a long time coming.
Ellis, guided by Luke Pollard in the men’s para-triathlon visually impaired race, stormed to victory in a time of 57:40, one minute and 39 seconds ahead of France's Thibaut Rigaudeau.
The reigning world champion topped the split timings for each of the three disciplines, completing the 5km run in 16:27 despite the duo taking the wrong turn out of transition.
“It was awesome to be doing a big race on home soil, it felt like a long time coming so it was great,” the 36-year-old said, speaking at Britain’s first standalone paratriathlon race of this level.
“We’ve had a good year of racing so far to get obviously Commonwealth Games, and to get a first championship medal was a big target for us this year.
“So, to get that one was awesome, but then to have this a week later we had to try and focus on this as well and we managed to do that, so we're really happy with that.”
It’s a British winner in the men’s PTVI! 🥇@davellisgb and his guide @LukePollard91 claim the first gold medal of the day! 🇬🇧
🥈 Thibaut Rigaudeau (FRA) 🥉 Antoine Perel (FRA).
4th Oscar Kelly (guide: Charlie Harding) 🇬🇧 9th Rhys Jones (guide: Rhys James) 🇬🇧 #WTPSSwansea pic.twitter.com/DUR8mt1NOl
— British Triathlon (@BritTri) August 6, 2022
Ellis was heavy favourite for a medal at the Tokyo Paralympics, but disaster struck when Pollard picked up a mechanical fault in the bike and then had to abandon the race, but there would be redemption at the Commonwealth Games and again in Swansea.
The podium was rounded out by another Frenchman Antoine Perel, with fellow Brit Oscar Kelly just behind in fourth, improving on his fifth place at Birmingham 2022.
Swansea marked the first time the UK had hosted a standalone World Triathlon Para Series event and the event will return for the next two years in the run up to Paris 2024.
Volvo 2022 WTPS Swansea is one of three races at World Triathlon Para Series level, with Yokohama in May and Montreal in July, in addition to the World Triathlon Para Championships in Abu Dhabi in November.
The elite races were just one part of a week-long festival of parasport including amateur triathlon races in the morning.
Ellis added: “I think it's good that it can promote parasport in general at many different levels.
“People doing their first-ever triathlon this morning and then you have got our race today, so I think it really helps to just expose disability sport and being standalone gives us the opportunity to do that.
Pollard, who took up triathlon after joining the Royal Air Force, agreed: “I think it really adds to it and I think it's really good for para-triathlon in general, just to put the exposure out there of what these athletes do and how fantastic it can be.”
After an evening of celebrations following their gold in Birmingham, it was back in the pool the next morning with all focus on Swansea.
And it will be the same again this time with the world championships in Abu Dhabi in November now on the horizon.
Ellis explained: “We’ve got a race in Portugal next month and then the last target of this year would be to try and see if we can do well at Worlds again.”
The Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea - Britain's first ever standalone World Triathlon Para Series event - headlined a week-long para sport festival in the Welsh city, which also included the first ever International Paratriathlon Conference. Interested in getting involved in paratriathlon? Visit the get involved page on britishtriathlon.org