13 September 2018

Lewis aiming to retain World Championship crown

Raring to go

It’s not been an easy road since Rio for Paralympic champion Andy Lewis but he is more determined than ever to claim gold ahead of this weekend’s Para Triathlon World Championships in the Gold Coast.

Since taking up the sport in 2013 Lewis has built an impressive medal collection that includes ParalympicsGB’s first-ever para triathlon gold medal as well as world and European Championship gold medals.

Despite the success Lewis won’t have the chance to defend his Paralympic title at Tokyo 2020 after his classification was not included in the schedule.

That decision has lit a fire under the 35-year-old as he looks to show that he is still on top of the world this weekend.

Andy Lewis after winning gold at Rio 2016

Back on track

“I’m really looking forward to it to be honest, it’s been a difficult couple of months so I’m looking forward to getting there and having a bit of fun,” said Lewis.

“It does get to the point where you’re doing all this training, the hours and hours of swim, bike, run and the mental toughness that requires and the mental battles you face when doing that.

“I won’t hide behind that, it’s been really tough and leading into Rio I suffered depression and after that as well and it’s something that comes in elite sport in peaks and troughs and we just ride over it.

“But I’m back on track now and prepared to go to worlds and try to hold onto my title. It will be good for me to finish – not necessarily triathlon because I am going to carry on doing it – but our category is not in Tokyo and I won’t get to defend my medal so to be able to go to worlds and try to regain my title would be amazing.

“It’s something that I’m going to aim for without a doubt but if I can go out there and finish that race and give it my all, come out the other side ready to tackle the next challenge then I will be happy with that.”

Lewis’ performance in Rio gave ParalympicsGB one of the iconic images of the Games as he crossed the line, arms aloft, holding the finish tape in his hands.

Andy Lewis crossing the finish line at Rio 2016

Iron Man

It’s a moment that lives long in the memory – though not necessarily for Lewis.

“I have a really good memory for the bad things but not always the good things,” he added.

“That moment is a bit vague but I do remember crossing the line and thinking what just happened. This journey had taken such a big part of my life and an emotional part of my life and to cross that line was incredible.

“It was very, very emotional. I got very emotional when they played the national anthem on Copacabana beach.

“To come away from that knowing I’d done what I set out to achieve I was really happy.”

And, while Lewis won’t be competing at Tokyo, he certainly won’t be finishing his sporting career and he looks to push himself harder than ever before.

“I’ve decided in 2020 that I want to do an Iron Man,” said Lewis. “I think it would be a shame to knock it on the head considering how fit I am. I get it’s totally different but I can’t accept someone else choosing my fate so I want to show what I can do.”

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