Canada’s Stefan Daniel wins world para-triathlon championship gold

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — Stefan Daniel of Calgary battled cold and wet conditions to reclaim his world title in para-triathlon Friday.

The 20-year-old, who was born with deformities in both hands, had finished second to Germany’s Martin Schulz last year after winning the race in 2015.

Daniel’s time in the 750-kilometre swim, 20-kilometre bike and 5k run Friday was one hour one minute 20 seconds.

Triathlon made its Paralympic debut in Rio in 2016.

Daniel also finished second to Schulz there, but the Paralympic champ dropped out of the race on the second lap of the bike Friday.

“It was a bit disappointing not to win in Rio and I am happy to have this title back from 2015,” Daniel said. “I trained hard all year. I was really fit and I’m just happy I was able to execute today.”

Jairo Ruiz Lopez of Spain was two minutes back of the Canadian in second at 1:03.21, while American Chris Hammer was third in 1:03.44.

Weather conditions prevented Daniel from training on the bike course during the week and Friday’s race was delayed an hour due to rain.

“I didn’t believe it was safe to ride this week so we didn’t do it,” Daniel explained. “This was the first time I did the course so on the first lap I really just had to figure it out.”

He competed in the PT4 classification which is for athletes with various mobility impairments.

Jessica Tuomela of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and guide Ellen Pennock of Calgary finished sixth in the women’s visually impaired category.

Tuomela finished just under seven minutes behind gold medallist Katie Kelly of Australia.

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