TWEED Valley wheelchair triathlete Bill Chaffey with his gold medal won at last week's Gold Coast ITU Triathlon World Championship.
TWEED Valley wheelchair triathlete Bill Chaffey with his gold medal won at last week's Gold Coast ITU Triathlon World Championship. Larissa Nicholson / Tweed Daily News

Bill conquers world's best

IT was a near perfect race for Tweed Heads wheelchair triathlete Bill Chaffey when he claimed gold last Saturday at the Gold Coast ITU Triathlon World Championships at Southport.

The 33-year-old has been competing in triathlons for the past eight years and in 2005 he was left partially paralysed after being hit by a truck during a cycling training session at Chinderah.

Chaffey returned to the sport in 2006 training with Tweed Valley Triathletes and his first competition was in January 2008.

Chaffey said overall he was happy with his triumph on Saturday but was a little disappointed with his swim leg.

“I looked at my watch and it was a slow time for my usual 1.5km swim but I came out of the water first and the Canadian guy was closest behind me,” Chaffey said.

“I found out later that there had been a strong current so I swam a bit further.”

Chaffey won gold in paratriathlete TR1 - Handcycle category and across the six paratriathlete categories there had been 41 other athletes and Chaffey secured fourth position overall.

The endurance testing race saw Chaffey contest the Olympic distance consisting of 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run with his modified wheelchair and hand cycles.

One of the biggest highlights for Chaffey was not just the podium finish and the presentation of the medal, it was a cheer from the crowd.

“I was coming out of the water on the swim and my two little girls said, 'Go Daddy,' and that was the best part of the day,” Chaffey said.

The championships provided Chaffey with the challenge he had been seeking which was the opportunity to race people in the same category. In his qualifying races in Sydney and Brisbane he was not afforded this chance.

“I have never raced against anyone before and racing someone in my category is the most exciting part of it,” Chaffey said.

“I was one of four and I tried to find out beforehand about the competition, I looked at the Spanish bloke's times and I couldn't find the Canadian and Americans times so I was unsure what they would offer.”

Chaffey now has his sights firmly set on the Gold Coast Half Ironman Triathlon race on October 4 at Calypso Bay.

Chaffey will continue his usual training in the lead up to the race consisting of five hours on bike, two and a half hours on wheelchair and two and a half hours in the pool.

“The half ironman covers a 1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21km run which is double the distance from the weekend,” Chaffey said.

Tweed Valley Triathletes are hosting a sign this afternoon from 1pm until 6pm at the Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre.

Those wishing to join the club for this season are encouraged to sign-on today if possible to avoid delays prior to the start of the first adult trial race tomorrow morning at 6am.

However for those who can't make it today, registrations will be taken prior to tomorrow's race from 5.30am.

The club welcomes interested people to come along and enjoy the friendly fun experience of triathlon distances will be 500m swim, 10km cycle, 4km run or 200m swim, 7km cycle, 2km run.

Junior racing will commence on October 10. Membership costs for 2009-2010 will be family $80, single $50, junior $35 plus normal pool entry fee.

For more information please contact Jeff Collier on 0406381766.



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