The home crowd helped roar Oscar Kelly to fourth at the Volvo 2022 World Triathlon Para Series Swansea and exorcise the demons of a puncture at last week’s Commonwealth Games, writes Sportsbeat's Milly McEvoy.
Against a similarly stacked field, Woodford Green’s Kelly, who is guided by Charlie Harding finished one place higher than he did in Birmingham – also beating Australian Sam Harding who claimed Commonwealth bronze – coming home in the men’s visually impaired event in a time of 1:00:43.
The 21-year-old missed out on the podium by 44 seconds as fellow Brit Dave Ellis took gold, with French pair Thibaut Rigaudeau and Antoine Perel clinching silver and bronze, respectively.
“It feels good,” Kelly said. “If we are honest, it was a bit of redemption from last week.
“We obviously did well last week but didn’t get the result we wanted up against some proper quick guys and we came ahead of some of the guys we raced last week so it is a great result.
“It's amazing, there were people all the way round and when you are really feeling the burn and feel like you are pushing it, having your name shouted out by some complete stranger helped so much, we love it.”
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
While Swansea had a similar field to Birmingham, the course was completely new as Saturday marked the first time that the UK had held a Volvo WTPS event in Swansea – as it also became the UK's first standalone para-series competition.
Kelly came out of the run joint-second, before losing two minutes to Rigaudeau on the bike with them all chasing Ellis who led from start to finish.
Perel would pass Kelly on the run, but he was able to hold off the challenge of Kyle Coon from the US who finished 24 seconds behind Kelly, who found the course to his liking.
He added: “It was a nice technical race; we like technical races. It really tests these guys’ skills, played to our strengths and it was a nice course to compete on.
“It’s amazing to have a standalone event, we’re really thankful for the organisers, sponsors, Volvo, National Lottery funding, just an amazing job here, thank you for the crowds, they were amazing.”
Crowds lined the whole route as Swansea continued to celebrate a week-long festival of parasport to coincide with the triathlon.
And while Kelly saw today as redemption for the puncture at the Commonwealth Games, his guide Harding is targeting the Paralympics in two years’ time.
He said: “The Commonwealths didn’t go well with that puncture and that is going to be in our minds for the next two years and we really want redemption in Paris.
“We’ll see how it goes, hopefully we get there and push for medal.”
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