Australian athletes dominated the opening World Triathlon Para Series event in Devonport in Tasmania ©Triathlon Australia

This year’s World Triathlon Para Series was launched today in Australia when strong fields gathered in Devonport on the coast of Tasmania and varying weather conditions throughout the day made for some unpredictable racing.

It was no surprise that athletes from the home country dominated on a day that started out in overcast conditions, with a wetsuit swim in the cool Tasmanian surf, before drizzling rain caused some havoc with crashes on the bike and run legs before the sun started to break through during mid-morning.

Vision-impaired Commonwealth Games silver medallist WA’s Canberra-based Sam Harding and guide Luke Harvey were amongst those to take a tumble as athletes negotiated the slippery surfaces.

The pair dusted themselves off and climbed back into stride to open the new season with a gold medal in the PTVI category.

"It was the first time we’ve been down and hopefully we’re not too banged up from that little slide that saw six of us go down," said Harvey.

Australia’s Tokyo 2020 silver medallist and three-time world champion Lauren Parker managed to navigate the technical course, adding her fifth Devonport victory in the PTWC category.

Parker’s Tokyo 2020 team-mate David Bryant and emerging star Jack Howell provided a one-two finish for Australia in the PTS5.

Mohamed Lahna, centre, of the United States, was a rare non-Australian winner in the PTS2 category ©Triathlon Australia
Mohamed Lahna, centre, of the United States, was a rare non-Australian winner in the PTS2 category ©Triathlon Australia

Former world champion Sally Pilbeam of Australia opened her 2023 account with an impressive return to the winners list in the PTS4 women’s category, taking the win from United States pair Emma Myers and Kelly Worrell.

Fellow Australian Jeremy Peacock was thrilled with his swim, bike and run triathlon performance to claim gold in the first race of the 2023 WTPS season in the PTS4 category ahead of America’s Carson Clough and Japan’s Hideki Uda.

Justin Godfrey was another home winner, earning a confidence-boosting gold medal in the men’s PTS3 class.

In the women’s PTVI class, the battle was between newcomers from Australia Maggie Sandles and guide Felicity Cradick and New Zealand’s Maria Williams and guide Melissa Moon.

Sandals brought home the gold medal with a breakthrough win, while Williams had a strong race to earn silver, boosting the confidence of both before qualifying for next year’s Paralympic Games in Paris begins in July.

Non-Australian winners included America’s Howie Sanborn in the men’s PTWC in the first race of the day, catching home athlete Nic Beveridge on the bike and consolidating his lead on the run as Japan’s Jumpei Kimura took the silver.

America’s Mohamed Lahna led the men’s PTS2 category and was too strong for any of the field to catch.

The next event in the World Triathlon Para Series is due to take place in Japanese city Yokohama on May 13.