Medal joy for Chloe MacCombe in para-triathlon


A blistering finish on the final stage by the Claudy native saw him overtake Canadian Jessica Tuomela, finishing in one hour 14 minutes 39 seconds.

“I don’t think I’ve fully realized I’m second yet, it’s absolutely unreal,” a delighted MacComber said afterwards.

“Catherine (guide) shouted as she climbed the last hill of the race that she could see the Canadians and see second place and that was just the last push to kick things off,

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Northern Ireland’s Chloe Maccombe (left) and her guide Catherine Sands celebrate winning silver in the women’s paratriathlon on day three of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

“The third would have been great but the second is unreal.

“I’ve only been in the sport for a few years, it’s unreal and just a real encouragement to keep pushing and focusing on Paris 2024 and the Paralympics.

“Walking on the podium it hit me all of a sudden and I thought I was going to cry but I held it in, you can’t cry in front of the camera!

“It’s absolutely unreal, and I really hope it inspires other people to get into para-triathlon or even try any other kind of sport it’s worth trying.

MacCombe explained his background in the sport.

“We got into triathlon by accident,” she said.

“We were part of the para-rowing team for Ireland, but that kind of fell through.

“We went to a Team Ireland expo and we ran into the triathlon guys and they asked if we could swim, cycle and run.

“We said a bit and he said there was a training day in Belfast the following week and we were coming, and that was about it.

“Me and Judith went together, we would have been around 23 or 24,

“It wasn’t too difficult to change sports because we had only learned rowing in university and had only really been doing it for three or four years anyway.

“So in terms of changing sports it wasn’t that difficult and in terms of high performance we were used to pushing ourselves.”

MacCombe has been raving about his guide Catherine Sands and their success has been all the more remarkable as they have only been together for a relatively short time.

“It was in the middle of 2020, so it’s been about two years,” she said. “Without a guide I can’t run, so that just means she’s here and we’ve been spending time together.

“We’ve built this confidence that we can go fast on the bike and when she says lean, I do. She said on the bike trust me Chole and there was no doubt in my mind that I trusted her.

“I must have so much faith in Catherine because I don’t see where I’m going swimming, cycling or running. I have a little vision to be able to see but I just have to trust when Catherine says well I have to lean right I have to go right and we are going in the right direction.

“There’s so much work to do and I’m just glad we worked together to be able to trust him completely.”

Chole will share his success with his sister.

“As tandem twins, we need to celebrate together,” she said. “I’m really proud of his run, we’re proud of each other and that’s what matters.”

Judith commented on her fourth place: “It was good. I had a little trouble swimming, it’s still my weakest and I really need to work on it, I know that myself.

“I know once I get out of the swim, I push hard on the bike, I push hard on the run.”


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