DERBY’S Dave Ellis expressed his delight at laying down a marker ahead of his eagerly-awaited Paralympic return following victory at the AJ Bell 2021 Para Triathlon World Series in Leeds.
Ellis delivered an imposing performance and led from start to finish in the first ever Para World Series event to take place on UK soil.
The 34-year-old represented Great Britain as a swimmer at Beijing 2008 and is set to return to the Paralympic stage this summer, with the PTVI category for visually impaired athletes part of the men’s programme for the first time.
And with several likely Tokyo rivals left trailing in his wake on his return to the global stage, Ellis – guided by Luke Pollard – was able to reflect on a job well done as he continues to build towards his ultimate goal.
“It was brilliant,” he said. “I’ve not raced for a long time so it was great to put in a performance in front of my family, friends and the British fans.
“We were strong across all three disciplines and it’s our first time together racing the rest of the world, so it’s good to see where we’re at.
“Home soil maybe gave us a bit of an advantage, but we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure we’re in the best shape for Tokyo.
“We’ve been working well together and it’s nice to put in a good race on this stage.”
Saturday’s race marked one of the Derby athlete’s final chances to tune up before he heads to Japan and he was cheered home by 4,000 fans in Roundhay Park.
Having waited 12 years to make his Paralympic return, an extra 12 months has proved frustrating for Ellis but he is confident he has made the most of the extra time afforded to him – with another chance for success in front of a home crowd lying in wait next year.
“It [postponement] has been good in some ways as we’ve got better together over that period,” he said.
“It also means we’re now only one year from Commonwealth Games [in Birmingham] so we can build for that as well.
“Having the crowds back [in Leeds] was great. It actually feels like you’re in a race as the last year, just in circuits on your own, has been really quiet.”
The AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon Para Series Leeds is the pinnacle of triathlon competition in the UK and is proudly presented alongside Volvo Car UK