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Williams ready to test himself again when Super Series returns

Williams ready to test himself again when Super Series returns


Darren Williams is looking forward to testing himself again when the British Triathlon Paratri Super Series returns on the first weekend in April.

The PTWC paratriathlete competed at three of the five paratri events in 2022 and he’s hoping for another year of progress when he starts his year at the British Paraduathlon Championships on Sunday 2 April, with entries still open for the event (enter here).

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Williams said. “My weakness is probably the race chair, so for me it’s good to get a few weeks in of getting some technical work in and go there to try and improve on last year.

“That’s the aim for me for this year, to just improve on last year’s races. I did five races last year and I really enjoyed the Super Series. I’m really lucky to have support from Welsh Triathlon and British Triathlon, and I’m really grateful for that.

“I think with their help and building my engine, building the volume, I just hope I can improve on last year because that’s all I want to do is just keep on improving.”

Williams’ life changed dramatically in April 2014 when the birth of his first child was followed three weeks later by another life-changing incident. The 35-year-old was travelling on the back of a motorbike when it was involved in a road traffic collision near Gwbert.

Williams spent the next 11 months in hospital, recovering from the collision which saw him airlifted to the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.

“I had a list of injuries, but the spinal cord injury was the main injury,” Williams said. “It was pretty tough for me because my daughter had just been born. My partner used to bring down Leila [his daughter], and I used to feed her in my hospital bed and all the nurses would flock around because they weren’t used to seeing a newborn baby on the ward.

“Although it was really tough, at the same time it was massively motivating for me to have my first newborn child to get through those 11 months. I was a bricklayer, I was a really active person, and it just so happened that about a month after I was there a Cardiff Blues and Wales international rugby player came in called Owen Williams.

“We were in beds opposite each other so that was massive because the Welsh rugby team would often come in to see Owen and I got to know all the Wales team, the Cardiff team and that was a massive help. I think that really inspired me to get through where I was.”

Williams was introduced to paratriathlon by a friend and took part in his first swim, bike, run event in May 2017.

After spending 18 months away from the sport due to surgery and the birth of his second child, Williams now races in the British Triathlon Paratri Super Series, which is open to both classified and non-classified paratriathletes.

“I spend a lot of time doing triathlons at able-bodied events,” Williams said. “Now I’m racing in the Paratri Super Series I really enjoy that, and I like being a part of it. There are some really top athletes in the wheelchair category.

“I have met so many people from different backgrounds, so many different stories, but everyone there is giving it their best. I knew straight away I wouldn’t play football again, but being at the events there’s a sense of camaraderie which I used to have in the footballing changing room and I have got that back.”

2022 was his best season to date including securing victory in the men’s PTWC in the British Triathlon Paratri Super Series at the first World Triathlon Para Series Swansea which saw thousands of spectators cheer on the world’s best paratriathletes in the city.

This year’s event will come just a week before he gets married only a few miles from the race route, and Williams is looking forward to taking to the Swansea start line again when the event returns to South Wales on 15 July.

“For me that’s my best day in triathlon,” Williams said. “The fact it was in Swansea made it for me. It was fantastic and I’m smiling now thinking about it because on home turf to have an event like that and to finish my race and then watch the World Series race was fantastic.

“It was really enjoyable, and I really can’t wait for this year, especially to have this sort of event in Swansea again is amazing. The day after was the Swansea half IRONMAN so Swansea in general that weekend was absolutely buzzing.

“This year is a bit mental with the Swansea event on the 15th [July], then I get married the week after in Swansea on the Gower, but there’s no way that I’m not doing Swansea.”

World Triathlon Para Series Swansea returns to South Wales on 15 July 2023 when the sweeping waterfront of Swansea Bay will again provide a stunning setting for the weekend’s elite sporting action and for spectators. Find out more on the event page here.