Rio 2016 dream moves step closer for Tri-Anglia ace Iain Dawson
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
The prospect of representing Team GB at the Rio 2016 Paralympics has moved a step closer for New Buckenham athlete Iain Dawson.
The 37-year-old has had his place in British Triathlon's paratriathlon World-Class Performance Squad confirmed, putting him well on course for Brazil in 2016.
Paratriathlon will make its debut at the Paralympics in two years and Dawson, the Tri6b class world champion in 2010 and 2012, is set to play a part in his sport's eagerly-awaited debut.
Dawson, a Tri-Anglia Triathlon Club member, is a visually impaired athlete with less than 10pc vision due to a rare genetic eye condition known as X-Linked Juvenile Retinoschisis.
He also competed in cycling at the 2000 Paralympics in Australia, finishing fifth in the men's 1km tandem time-trial, ninth in the tandem pursuit and 12th in the tandem road race.
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Now he is putting all his focus on the paratri at Rio 2016, saying: 'Everybody is geared up around Rio 2016. I've got other goals like the Europeans and Worlds, but Rio 2016 is the big focus.
'At this point I wouldn't be continuing if I wasn't in with a chance of getting to Rio and winning a medal. I've won a few World and European medals so there's nothing really left for me and it will be good to go back to the Paralympics after competing in the cycling in Sydney 2000.'
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Dawson, an NHS Community Health and Care physiotherapist who works with people with learning difficulties, is accompanied through his swim, bike and run by his guide, Tri-Anglia club-mate Matt Ellis.
The pair will be flying to Japan this week to compete in the international season opener, the ITU World Triathlon Yokohama, on Saturday.
'I guess my main priority will be to finish in the top six and get European Championships qualification points,' Dawson said of the world series event.
'It's a bit of a no risk approach but obviously I want to try and finish as high up in the field as I can, but the priority is a top-six finish.'
Do you know someone local aiming for international sporting glory? Contact sports reporter David Freezer on 01603 772418 or email@example.com