ITU World Triathlon Championships Grand Final, Gold Coast, Australia Saturday 15 September 2018

mark buckingham guide dave ellis ptvi

Mark Buckingham contested the World Grand Final on the Gold Coast, Australia as Guide for the reigning World Visually Impaired Paratriathlon (PTVI) Champion, Dave Ellis. Mark was approached earlier this year to Guide the Paratriathlon World Champion at a World Cup race and then a World Series race in Italy where they won both events.

There was a lot of pressure on the two men as the Paratriathlon VI category was the first race in the Elite Championship. The men set-off at 6.45am on Saturday 15 September,  3mins 16 seconds after the totally blind athletes (B1) along with the other partially sighted athletes. There were athletes representing 11 different countries and although Dave Ellis is a very good swimmer, the British men emerged from the water in 6th place managing to record the fastest split of 9.26 for the 750m swim, but they were only able to overtake one of the B1 categories as all the athletes were battling against a strong current.

mark buckingham guide dave ellis ptvi

The British men were quick in transition (T1) with only one of the Spanish athletes faster. On the 20km bike course they were able to overtake some of their opponents on the tandem, but one of the US athletes, Aaron Scheidies was very fast recording a time of 26.44. Ellis and Buckingham completed the bike course in 5th place (28.31), the 4th fastest time, but had a deficit of just over a minute on Scheidies.

Buckingham didn’t panic in T2 and on the 5km run they were soon catching the leaders. Although the sprint distance is only a short distance, Buckingham was confident that he and Ellis could catch Scheidies and his partner and did so on the last lap going on to win gold medals with the fastest run split of 16.48 and an overall time of 59.51. Ellis retained his World title and Scheidies of USA took silver (1.00.11) and Hector Catala Laparra won bronze (1.00.30).

mark buckingham guide dave ellis ptvi

This was Buckingham’s third World Championship event this year having won a bronze medal at the World Duathlon Championships in Denmark in July and then contesting the Ironman World 70.3 Championships in South Africa two weeks before his race in Australia where he finished 17th. The Paratriathlon VI category has recently been given Olympic status, so next year will be very important as athletes seek qualification for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

mark buckingham guide dave ellis ptvi 3


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