Eastbourne’s Joe Townsend will be competing for team and country as part of England’s Triathlon Team at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
Townsend, 30, will make his Commonwealth Games debut as he races in the Paratriathlon in the early hours of Saturday morning (00:31 UK time).
The Eastbourne athlete will hope to medal on the Gold Coast as he aims to build on his excellent sixth placed finish at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Following a gruelling training session in preparation for the Commonwealth Games, Townsend tweeted, “It’s not pretty trying to compete with the best athletes in the world.
“Takes a strong heart, head and body. The ability to leave it all out there and delve into dark places and keep pushing when your body is screaming at you to stop is a sadistic art but I love it.”
Townsend, a former Royal Marine Commando, lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008. He got into triathlon when he completed the Ironman UK triathlon in Bolton in July 2011. He has since competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where he finished second and has established himself as one of the best PT1 paratriatheltes in the world.
He competed for Paralympics GB in Rio in September 2016. Townsend also carried the Paralympic Flame into the London 2012 stadium as part of the opening ceremony. He was suspended by wires and made a dramatic overhead entrance to the arena, even though he is actually scared of heights.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will boast the largest para-sport programme in history, comprising up to 300 para-athletes and 38 medal events across seven sports.
“Having paratriathlon included on the programme for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games is great news,” said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado. “I can’t imagine a better place for paratriathlon than the Gold Coast, which hosts many ITU events and is a mecca for the sport of triathlon.
“Paratriathletes will no doubt enjoy fantastic support in the coastal city.”