A place in the history books could beckon at Rio 2016 but para-triathlete Lauren Steadman insists she cannot afford to look past the here and now.
The reigning world and European champion, Steadman is one of Britain’s leading hopes going into September’s games in Rio, where the sport of paratriathlon will make its Paralympics debut.
Originally from Sawtry but now based in Portsmouth having completed a degree in psychology at Portsmouth University, the 23-year-old has previous experience of the big stage having competed in swimming at Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
She switched to para-triathlon in 2013 though and has since picked up three European and two world titles.
It all puts her as one the favourites for Rio but Steadman is refusing to get carried away, with her next big target being the World Paratriathlon series which gets underway in Buffalo City, South Africa in March.
“It’s a very exciting time for me with para-triathlon making its debut at Rio,” she said.
“But there’s still a lot to happen between now and then and we’ve got a full season’s racing which starts in March. So it’s a case of making sure I stay fit and don’t pick up any injuries.
“Obviously I competed as a swimmer at the previous two Paralympics so this will be a bit different but I’m excited to race in Rio.
“It’s a beautiful city, we have competed at the trials there so we know a bit about what to expect. It’s very different climate-wise so it’s good to know what we need to prepare for.
“If I won in Rio, it will be the chance to make history as the first paratriathlon champion. It’s an amazing opportunity.”
Steadman was speaking as she helped to launch ‘Supercharge ParalympicsGB’ – a new campaign which allows the public to show their support for Britain’s Paralympians over the course of 2016 and beyond through fund-raising, donating funds and taking part in dedicated ‘Supercharge’ fan activity.
It is the first time the British Paralympic Association, a registered charity, has launched such a major public facing campaign to generate support and raise funds for ParalympicsGB and Steadman believes it will prove invaluable in the run up to Rio 2016.
“After having been to two previous games, I do believe London was a turning point for Paralympics GB,” she added.
“We had tremendous support and I do believe it boosted performances knowing that thousands of people were behind us.
“It’s a great feeling to represent your country and you want to make people proud. Hopefully the public can get behind us again and we can have another successful Paralympics.”
You can help #Supercharge ParalympicsGB to Rio 2016 and beyond. Show your support for the team and find out more at www.paralympics.org.uk/supercharge