Next stop is Rio for four- time world champ Faye

World Champion Paratriathlon Faye McCelland with Wes Mechen
World Champion Paratriathlon Faye McCelland with Wes Mechen

For an athlete who wasn’t heavily involved in sport until 2009, the prospect of Paralympic gold as early as 2016 might seem a little far-fetched.

But Eastbourne’s very own Faye McLelland is aiming for exactly that.

Challenged by a friend to do the run section in what would be her first ever paratriatlhon in 2009, McLelland, 34, hasn’t looked backed since.

Now a four time world champion, the tri-4 competitor- the category for arm impairment- has her sights set firmly on glory at the highest level and talks excitedly about her prospects at the Paralympic games in Rio 2016.

“I’m going to be part of the GB para team, we haven’t had the official classifications yet but I’m 99 per cent hopeful that my category will be included,” she says

“It’s one of the most competitive categories, the tri-4, and it would be great to win the gold at Paralympic level, which is the pinnacle of any sporting achievement.”

Few would bet against the determined McLelland achieving just that, and after a hectic couple of years she hopes to focus squarely on training ahead of the defence of her world title.

She has shown great commitment to her craft, balancing her sporting obligations with the commitments of every day life and having recently graduated from the University Of Brighton, she admits that striking a balance between education and sport has been difficult.

That experience, however, will leave her in good stead ahead of her preparations for another busy year.

Her modest approach might seem out of character for a four time world champion, and while it is hard to understand why she might lack in confidence, she thinks coming through last year will give her a further boost ahead of the Paralympics.

“I had a tough last year,” McLelland adds.

“That was the biggest challenge for me, to juggle the two and retain that title again after missing out on a lot of training and other racing.”

“I’m a lot more confident now though than I’ve felt before because I have shown that I can still achieve it.

“If you’re motivated and you know what you want to do, you make sure you do it.”

Motivation is clearly not an issue for McLelland.

She is someone who knows exactly what she wants and speaking with her at the site of her latest venture, the Tempo Specialist Running shop in Susan Road, started with business partner and fellow athlete Wes Mechen, you get the feeling she will stop at nothing until that gold medal is around her neck.