Debden teenager triumphs in European Paratriathlon

George Peasgood

George Peasgood - Credit: Archant

A 19-year-old from Debden Green has achieved the fastest swimming time in this year’s European Paratriathlon Championships.

George Peasgood travelled to Geneva in Switzerland for the highly-acclaimed event on July 10, which included a 750 metre swim, a 20 kilometre cycle and a five kilometre run.

Altogether, the young athlete finished in one hour, one minute and 50 seconds, ranking him as 11th overall, but his nine minute and 22-second swim saw him shoot to the top of the leader-board for the first leg.

George told the Reporter: “It was definitely up there as one of the hardest races I have done. Every race is hard, but you have to try and push yourself to the max. I always knew this was going to be a challenge; there were world champions and key athletes there and I was keeping an eye on them as we went round the track.”

In fact, so gruelling was the challenge that George collapsed once he had finished.

He said: “I definitely got close to a wall at points; I blacked-out at the end. I am not too sure for how long, but I shouted to my manager that I was not feeling great.

“I came off my bike and just did not feel like I had it in my legs, but with these races you have to keep pushing yourself to the limit. Hopefully blacking-out will not become a recurring thing though.”

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Pushing the athletes even more was the weather on the day, which saw temperatures soar to over 40 degrees.

“It was really hard to get used to the temperature,” he said. “It was nearly 40 degrees when we arrived, but then it went down to the low twenties and then shot back up again to the forties on race day. Lots of us struggled with it.”

The event saw almost 2,000 athletes compete this year and specifies competitors who are impaired below the knee or elbow.

George damaged his ankle when he was just two-years-old.

He said: “I had an accident with a lawn mower. I do not compete with any support, but my ankle has limited movement and is very delicate.

“I had an operation around 2009 to lengthen my leg because the accident had damaged growth in my ankle, so my right leg was growing faster than my left one. In surgery, they break all the bones in your leg and then hold it in place with metal rods out of the side. It took about nine months in total.”

Not stopping his passion for sport though, George also studies sports science and management part-time at the University of Loughborough, and, since returning from Geneva, already has his next challenge lined-up; the Rio de Janeiro World Paratriathlon Event next month.