The wait is finally over for Nowra-born Jonathan Goerlach after he was officially unveiled as a member of the Australian team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on Monday.
Joining Bomaderry High School alumnus Goerlach, who suffers from Usher Syndrome, in the Australian Paralympic team's six-athlete paratriathlon squad are reigning gold medallist Katie Kelly and world number one Lauren Parker.
Kelly, who will race with new guide Briarna Silk in Tokyo, became Australia's first Paralympic triathlon champion when she and guide Michellie Jones won the PT5 classification at Rio 2016, the first Games in which paratriathlon was included.
Rounding out the squad in Tokyo alongside Goerlach and his guide Dave Mainwaring, who finished the season as the fourth top duo in the world PTVI rankings, will be Rio 2016 representative Nic Beveridge (current world number eight in the PTWC classification), Emily Tapp (world number three PTWC) and David Bryant (world number four PTS5).
Australian team chef de mission Kate McLoughlin said she was eager to see the squad consolidate their credentials on the course at Odaiba in Tokyo.
"I'm thrilled to welcome these exceptional athletes to the Australian Paralympic team," McLoughlin said.
"Paratriathlon is an absorbing physical and mental test and the group we've named today are as tough and driven as they come.
"Each of them has set incredibly high standards since Rio and their opportunity now is to convert that on the biggest stage and show the world what an awesome Australian paratriathlon team we have."
Paralympics Australia chief executive Lynne Anderson thanked Triathlon Australia for their support.
"We know how challenging it's been to prepare for these Games, which makes the achievement of the athletes, their coaches and the staff at Triathlon Australia all the more worthy of our admiration," Anderson said.
"This squad will head to Tokyo with a fierce determination to establish Australia as a powerhouse in paratriathlon and I'm backing them to accomplish exactly that."
Triathlon Australia's paratriathlon Lead Kyle Burns is excited at what lies ahead for a team and a sport that has come a long way since it made its debut in Rio, certainly well equipped to handle what is going to be a unique Games.
"Since Rio, there has been a dedication to putting a performance environment around each athlete and allowing them to have the resources to reach their potential," Burns said.
"The program is older and wiser and led by TA's performance director Justin Drew, it is aimed at maximising the talent of our para-athletes in what is a relatively young but very competitive sport.
"The athletes go to Tokyo with a clear objective to perform in the biggest race of their careers and they look forward to representing their country, Paralympics Australia, and Triathlon Australia on the world stage."
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