GB Paratriathlon target record-breaking Europeans in Turkey

By Nick HopeBBC Paralympic sports reporter
Meet some of the GB Paratriathlon team targeting Rio gold

Great Britain's paratriathletes are targeting a record six medals at this weekend's European Championships in Alanya, Turkey.

The sport will debut at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and now with full UK Sport funding the squad is keen to build on last year's total of four medals.

"We want to maintain our position as the world's top Para-Tri nation," said GB performance manager Jonathon Riall.

GB's largest-ever team, of 22, consists of 17 athletes and five guides.

Reigning World and European champion Matthew Emmerson,external-link 26, misses the event due to injury, but the squad is boosted by the inclusion of fellow 2012 victors Jane Egan, Iain Dawson and Charlotte Ellis.

Clare Cunningham, 35,external-link who won Paralympic swimming gold back at the 1992 Games in Barcelona, is one of the longest serving members of the team and won European gold in Holten, the Netherlands in 2009.

"Since finding out we'll have the opportunity to be part of the Paralympics in Rio things have really stepped up," said Cunningham.

"I'm in good shape and I hope that the fact it's my birthday during the Championships is a good omen."

Another former swimmer, Lauren Steadman,external-link who competed at the Beijing and London Games, will make her major international debut as a paratriathlete in Turkey.

"We're sending a large team and a big purpose of that is to use the event as a development opportunity," Raill told BBC Sport.

Several of these athletes come from great professional setups like hand-cycling and swimming and they're coming here and realising we're no different.

Raill added: "We expect elitism and that has raised the expectations of the athletes."

Great Britain Paratriathlon Squad, ETU European Championships, 14-16 June 2013

Tri-1 - Phil Hogg, Jimmy Goddard, Joe Townsend, Jane Egan; Tri-3 - Steven Judge, Sarah Pearson; Tri-4 - Joe Allen, Dave Hill, Clare Cunningham, Lauren Steadman; Tri-5 - George Peasgood, Adrian Heathfield; Tri-6 - Haseeb Ahmed, (guided by Ben Matthews), Iain Dawson (guided by Carl Shaw), David Ellis (guided by Luke Watson), Charlotte Ellis (guided by Jenny Manners), Melissa Reid (guide TBC)