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Tue 7th Dec 2021
GuideToGold athletes announced
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Thursday 19th March 2015

Tags  Grace France  |  Guide2Gold  |  GuideToGold  |  Hazel Smith  |  Katie Henderson  |  Nicole Walters  |  Paratriathlon

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New paratriathlon guides confirmed following talent ID campaign

Three UK Sport Lottery funded guide athletes have been added to the Great Britain Paratriathlon team as a result of British Triathlon's Guide2Gold talent identification campaign.

There was an excellent response to the campaign, and ten potential new guides were assessed in December. The top candidates were invited to the winter training camp in Lanzarote in January and now three athletes will benefit from UK Sport Lottery funding as Paratriathlon prepares to make it's debut as a Paralympic sport in Rio 2016 next September.

British Triathlon is pleased to confirm that Grace France and Hazel Smith are new members of the squad, and join experienced guide, Nicole Walters. Katie Henderson has also been selected in a development capacity to provide back up as the team focuses on Paralympic qualification.

Walters has already played her part in winning an ITU world title. She guided Melissa Reid to gold in London in 2013 and the pair also won silver in Edmonton last year.  Walters guided new paratriathlete, Rhiannon Henry, to gold at the Buffalo City ITU World Paratriathlon Event in South Africa earlier this month.

Walters said: “Guiding is an extremely rewarding experience. It has presented me with the most amazing opportunities to travel around the world doing the sport I love, whilst supporting other athletes to achieve their goals.”

She added: “UK Sport Lottery funding will make a huge difference to my training and racing over the next few years and means I can fully commit to supporting GB's visually impaired athletes. I am excited for the journey ahead to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.”

France is a former international level modern pentathlete and won 25-29 age-group silver at the ITU World Championships in London in 2013. She has already had a successful introduction to guiding, having won silver with Melissa Reid in South Africa.

She commented: “I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity to join the squad.  Guiding has brought a new challenge to the sport and allows me to work in a team.”

Edinburgh based Hazel Smith is able to do some of her training with ITU Paratriathlon world champion, Alison Patrick. She was a Scottish national swimming champion as a junior and went on to be a rower at Durham University.

She took up triathlon in 2010 and won the national age-group sprint and standard distance titles last year as well as being selected as a reserve for Team Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

She said: “With the support from UK Sport, I will be able to go part time and thanks to my employer, arrange a more flexible working arrangement that will enable more of my time to be spent with the athletes developing skills and relationships that will be key to achieving our goals.”

Katie Henderson has been selected in a development capacity. She is a former masters swimming world record holder and came third at the Ironman70.3 world championships last year in the 30-34 age-group.

Great Britain Paratriathlon Head Coach, Jonathon Riall said: “We had a fantastic response to the Guide2Gold campaign and the testing process was highly competitive. We're grateful to UK Sport for it's investment in the Paratriathlon programme, and in particular for supporting us to have a team of talented guides who are able to fully commit to our Rio preparations.”

Great Britain Paratriathlon guides:

Grace France

From Suffolk, attended Bristol University, now training full time in Loughborough. Former international Modern Pentathlete. Triathlon world Age-Group silver medal winner in 2013.

Hazel Smith

From Newcastle Upon Tyne, based in Edinburgh. Senior Hydrologist with international engineering company, AECOM. Scottish 200m breast stroke champion age 13, national level rower at Durham University – being 6ft tall, rowing was a logical step. Double national Age-Group triathlon champion 2014.

Nicole Walters

Originally from Derby, was a national level squash player before taking up triathlon at the University of Bath. Also competed in road racing and cycling time trials. Already won an ITU Paratriathlon world title with Melissa Reid in 2013.

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