Rhys Jones believes that the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea was flying the flag for Wales, and so was he as he finished ninth in the visually impaired race.
The 42-year-old who was born in the USA but whose family hail from Caernarfon, completed the grueling course in 01:04:10 minutes as fellow Brit Dave Ellis earned gold.
Saturday was just one day in a week-long festival of parasport held in Swansea with the streets lined full of spectators who saved their biggest cheer for one of their own.
“I think this says a lot about where triathlon in Wales is, it has really pushed to promote the sport and para sport in this country and develop the sport within Wales,” said Jones.
“We’ve seen a lot of the youngsters race this morning. It would be great to get some more youngsters into para tri and work towards Paris and the Paralympics and Commies in the future."
Jones was guided by fellow Welshman Rhys James with the duo putting in their best time on the bike leg, completing the 19.5km in 28 minutes 59 seconds.
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
And James believes the course, a new one on the para series and the first standalone Volvo WTPS event to be held in the UK, was a fitting example of what Wales had to offer.
He said: “The course had a bit of everything, it was a nice simple swim, so easy to get your head down, get some power in the stroke and get going.
“The bike was a bit technical out of the start for the out lap and then once you got out into the main lap section of the course it was just all about the power you put down so really suited us well.
“We like a bit of everything, we’re quite well-rounded athletes and then coming into that run was just good fun, couple little technical corners here and there some nice straights just to get the legs turning over.
History made for Wales. Rhys James and Rhys Jones are our first Welsh athletes to compete in the Commonwealth Games paratriathlon 🏴 pic.twitter.com/xWUHmfMC0t
— Welsh Triathlon (@WelshTriathlon) July 31, 2022
“It’s a bit like what Wales has got. You’ve got sun, sea, a couple of hills here and there, ups and down, thankfully this course was flat though because I could not be doing more hills after last week!”
More sun beckons for the duo as they separately head to Spain for their holidays, although it won’t be long before the two are reunited as they push to qualify for the World Championships in November.
Jones said: “We're both off on holiday to Spain not together but not too far apart.”
As James chimed in: “To be fair, we get withdrawal symptoms if we're away for too long! We’ll have a nice, relaxing two weeks midseason break and then hopefully hit the ground running for trying to qualify for the World Champs later this year.”
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