Bilambil Heights resident and five-time world champion paratriathlete Bill Chaffey has been nominated for Australia’s Rio Paralympic team.
Bilambil Heights resident and five-time world champion paratriathlete Bill Chaffey has been nominated for Australia’s Rio Paralympic team. SCOTT POWICK

Bill Chaffey gears up for Rio

AFTER recovering from being hit by a truck while cycling in 2005, Bill Chaffey thought he'd only ever race again in Murwillumbah.

He certainly had never dreamed he'd be Australia's best bet for a place on the podium at this year's Paralympic triathlon in Rio de Janeiro come September.

But after trying his first paratriathlon events, his hunger for competition was piqued. The Bilambil Heights resident, and five-time world champion paratriathlete, cemented his nomination for the Paralympic team when he placed first in the World Paratriathlon Event at Penrith on April 24.

"They take your best three races, starting from the World Championships last year," Chaffey said.

"Penrith was the final box I had to tick for Paralympic qualification."

 

Bill Chaffey crosses the finish line at the Penrith WPE race on Sunday, April 24, securing the maximum amount of points possible for Paralympic nominations.
Bill Chaffey crosses the finish line at the Penrith WPE race on April 24, securing the maximum amount of points possible for Paralympic nomination. Contributed

After winning the world championships last year and claiming first place at the Oceania Championships in Devonport, Tasmania, last month's win left Chaffey with no room to improve on his chances for the Paralympic Team, which will be officially announced in July. With the paratriathlon facing its debut in the Paralympics, Chaffey looks like Australia's best chance for a place on the podium.

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Chaffey, who also won the Rio test event last year, said his most formidable threats were two Dutch men and one American, whom he will face in Yokohama, Japan for the International Triathlon Union event in Yokohama next week.

"Yokohama... is more about racing the top guys again," he said. "There's no point going into the Paralympics having only raced people here in Australia."

Chaffey was glad his wife Vanessa and daughters, Heidi and Amity, would be with him in Rio.

"I race best when they are there," he said.

Even after five world titles, he's definitely got to stay at his peak to stay in front.

"All the success I've had with the five world championships, that's something I'm really proud of but the Paralympics is such a big step again on top of that," he said.

Still, his adversaries probably wish Chaffey had stuck to racing at home.

"When I first got back into chair triathlons, I planned to just race Murwillumbah in summer," he said.

"Then I said to someone ... I'd do an ironman in a wheelchair. Because I said it to myself, I had to do it.

"Now I've been nominated for the Paralympic team."

The Paralympic Games will take place in Rio De Janeiro from September 7 to 18 this year.