By Chelsea White on 31/07/15 at 10:35 pm
The athletes have arrived in Rio de Janeiro, trained on the course and figured out what they have to do in order to win their nation a qualification spot. Now all that is left to do is race, and that all begins tomorrow when the 2015 Rio de Janeiro Paratriathlon event kicks off, followed by the elite Olympic qualifying race on Sunday.
In preparation for the next two days, triathletes Pamella Oliveira (BRA) and Alistair Brownlee (GBR) and paratriathletes Melissa Stockwell (USA) and Bill Chaffey (AUS) sat down with the media to discuss the upcoming competitions.
On competing in her home country.
“I am very excited to be here and to be racing in my home country. I am also very excited to see all of the top athletes in the world compete in Rio.”
‘On the concerns of the water quality..
“Rio and Copacabana beach is a place where we have a number of competitions and races that have triathletes swimming and tons of tourists swim in the water. Copacabana beach is one of the most iconic beaches in the world, so it can be assured that the water is safe for competition.”
As reigning Olympic Champion, how does it feel to be back?
“Well it is amazing that it has already been three years since the last Olympics, it really comes around fast. Obviously this Olympics I am faced with a very different challenge with it not being at home for me this time and had to travel to Rio to race on a different course because everyone has a different one of doing that but that makes it exciting and interesting, it is fantastic to be here and experience the city’s life and be able to see the course and I am looking forward to racing on it.”
On how athletes can avoid water quality issues.
“I think as far as our concerns as athletes, we are no stranger to getting asked questions about water and I think it is unfortunate that in any city, and I think this is a really good venue for triathlon, that water quality is going to get asked. As an athlete I think you can do what you can to limit problems, if you actually get ill from swallowing water after the race it is fine, it is during the race you want to avoid. So try not to spend too much time in the water beforehand if you are worried about it. And take precautions like making sure you clean off and what. I am certainly no stranger to dirty water, I think I have swam in a lot worse than this to be honest.”
On how the hill might break up the competition.
“I think this race has all the right ingredients for the peloton to be broken. When you look at it, there is a slightly rough water swim, a run up the beach and then heading up quite a tough hill all within a few minutes of a standard bike, it’s pretty much what you ask for in terms of breaking the peloton. I think there is a good chance of it splitting. There is a few factors that make it different, because the feel at the test event is considerably different to the feel we will have at the Games. There will be about 20 less people and the Games will have a few less weaker athletes in the field, and those factors make it likely to be a split. Even if we don’t have a very particularly interesting race at this test event, I am very confident that at the actual race will be very different. It is a good course.”
On competing in the first Paralympic Games for the sport..
“As a paratriathlete, we have waited a long time for this. We waited a long time for paratriathlon to be considered as a Paralympic sport, so to be able to have an opportunity to compete on the world’s biggest athletic stage against the world’s best athletes while here in Rio is pretty exciting. And to be here at the test event, to see the venue, to see the course and to train—I think we are ready to race hard. We are ready to show the world what we can do in the hopes of being back here next year.”
On the feeling of the city of Rio in preparation of the Games.
“The course we got to run it today, it is going to be a very fast course. The swim, bike and run, it is going to be flat with nice roads. The conditions here from hotel accommodations, the people—everyone has been extremely nice, extremely accommodating and have just been wanting to help us with anything that they can. So I know that myself and Team USA are looking forward to tomorrow.”
On competing in the first Paralympic Games for the sport.
“I have done this sport a long time starting from my own backyard and to be able to compete all over the world and now the prospect of competing at the Paralympics is pretty exciting. Coming to this test event, we know it is a test event for ITU, but it is also a test for us to try out this course and be able to prepare for it for next year.”
On the readiness of the Rio event so far.
“This is probably one of the best events I have raced so far. I am very excited about the course, it is an ocean swim, which is good for me. I think all triathlons should be in the ocean. Racing Copacabana beach, it is such an iconic beach just makes it that much more exciting. It is new, it is fast, it is going to be good for the fans and good for Rio. So hopefully it is going to be a great event.”
Find more details about this event - 2015 Rio de Janeiro ITU World Olympic Qualification Event