A star-studded start list headed to sunny Stockton on Sunday, with the Oceania Triathlon Para Championships kicking off the 2024 season for Australia’s top para triathletes.

In a pivotal year with the spotlight firmly fixed on Paris 2024, Stockton marked the first Paralympic ranking race of the year – with athletes eager to claim Oceania titles and boost their positions in the rankings.

Following the weekend’s racing, a number of Australian athletes have shot up the rankings to find themselves in positions that would earn Quota Positions or Automatic Nominations for the Paralympic Games.

Australia welcomed nine new Oceania champions, with many of them making it multiple title wins.

NSW Institute of Sport (NSWIS) athletes Lauren Parker (PTWC) secured her sixth Oceania title , while Nic Beveridge (PTWC) celebrated his fifth victory.

Meanwhile, Thomas Walvin (PTWC), Glen Jarvis (PTS2), Sally Pilbeam (PTS4), Liam Twoey (PTS4), David Bryant (PTS5) and Caroline Baird (PTVI) all secured silver in their respective categories, while Matthew Engesser (PTS4) and Natalie Shaw (PTS4) added bronze medals to Australia’s haul.

Engesser, who is part of the NSWIS Pursu32+ RAS Talent Program athlete, is a remarkable 16-year-old talent, further highlighted the emergence of promising talent in the country’s para triathlon scene.

He grew up watching the Paralympics, and said it felt surreal to share the course with the likes of Parker, Beveridge, Harding, and Bryant – who have all represented Australia at the Games.

“I felt honoured.” Engesser said.

“It was a good experience, I’m very happy with my result. I surprised myself a bit.

“My goal is to make the Paralympics at Brisbane 2032 and be ranked number one in my classification. I just want to do really well.”

Jeremy Peacock (PTS4) clinched his fourth Oceania title, with both Anu Francis (PTS2) and Sam Harding (PTVI) emerging victorious for the third time.

Meanwhile, Thomas Goodman (PTS2), Jack Howell (PTS5), Grace Brimelow (PTS4), and Maggie Sandles (PTVI) became first-time Oceania champions.

With his eyes fixed on qualifying for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games, Peacock said triumph at the Oceania Championships was a great way to start his year.

“Overall really happy to come away with the win.” Peacock said.

“The aim is to get to Paris, today was a really good start for that in terms of rankings.

“For me, to be able to represent my country in something that I love, it would mean a hell of a lot. “

Attention now turns to Devonport in March for the first World Triathlon Para Series race of the year.

Devonport emerges as another crucial opportunity for athletes to earn points on the qualification rankings before the qualification period ends on 1 July 2024.

In addition to hosting the World Triathlon Para Series opener, Devonport will also host the Oceania Triathlon Sprint and Mixed Relay Championships and the Australian Elite & Under 23 Sprint Championships.

Article and image courtesy of Triathlon Australia

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.