Triathlon para-athlete David Kerr has enhanced his chances of making the Ireland team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and the Northern Ireland squad for the Australian Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Wheelchair user David (34) has made the Irish ‘Project Tokyo’ training camp from which the 2020 team will be selected, and is hopeful of travelling to Queensland with the NI team in the Commonwealth series.
He has emerged as a star in the triathlon, having competed with distinction in three recent races. The event consists of swimming 750 metres, hand-cycling 20 kilometres and wheelchair racing five kilometres.
Over the past few weeks, he has taken part in three triathlons - at Ballyronan, Lough Neagh; Lough Rea, County Galway; and last weekend, starting in the Irish Sea at Clougher, near Dunleer, County Louth. His times have shot him into the elite sector and he plans “to train like mad” in an effort to make the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast in Queensland and the Paralympics in Tokyo – “Quite a dream,” said David.
His credentials at swimming and hand-cycling are impeccable. Three years ago, he swam “the English Channel from Dover to Calais” – or rather the 22 miles equivalent at Portadown Swimming Pool (Cascades). He did it for the spinal injuries charity Aspire, over a number of weeks.
David, whose injuries were the result of a motorcycle accident in his teens, covered 1,000 lengths of the pool.
His hand cycling has been equally impressive.
He had taken part in the 83-miles Round-Lough-Neagh road races and the 100-miles-plus Ards Peninsula circular event, so he’s an expert on two of three sections of the triathlon.
And he has really taken to the wheelchair racing, having acquired a special “steed” to perfect his technique in the third and final part of the triathlon.
“I’ve been training hard with my partner Anthea Nash, who’s a real inspiration. We’re really looking forward to the specialist training sessions which will hopefully lead in Australia and Japan,” said David. “These opportunities mean so much and it gives us something to really strive for. It won’t be for the lack of effort.”