Michellie Jones gives Katie Kelly Olympic vision along road to Rio
It could well develop into a partnership born in triathlon heaven when vision-impaired paratriathlete Katie Kelly teams up with her newly appointed guide, World Champion and Olympic silver medallist Michelle Jones in Yokohama this weekend.
Kelly will contest only her second World Paratriathlon Event (WPE) as she prepares to qualify for the sport’s debut in next year’s Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Credit - Delly Carr / ITU
The recently turned 40-year-old was born with Usher Syndrome, a rare deaf and blind degenerative condition and has only recently been formally classified as a PT5 athlete after her eye sight had deteriorated to a legally blind status.
So who better to guide you around the Paralympic sprint distance course (750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run) than one of Australia’s most decorated triathletes and the woman who played such a major part in putting triathlon on the Olympic map with her sterling silver in Sydney in 2000.
Jones, now 45 and the reigning ITU World Champion in her age category, answered the call from Triathlon Australia’s Paratriathlon head coach Corey Bacon and will act as Kelly’s guide on what will be an exciting road they hope will see them both in Rio next year.
The two-time International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Champion (1992 and 1993), 2000 Olympic silver medallist and 2006 Hawaiian Ironman winner, is a Triathlon Australia Hall of Famer who was last year inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
The pair will team up for the first time in the PT5 category (vision impaired athletes) before embarking on the Rio Test Event on August 1; the Detroit WPE on August 16 and the World Championships in Chicago on September 17.