Lauren Parker eyes world titles and Paralympics after bronze-medal effort at Commonwealth Games

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Parker sets sights on Paralympics after bronze-medal performance Lauren Parker with her bronze medal after a remarkable effort in the women’s paratriathlon on Saturday. Picture: Daniel Lewins
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REMARKABLE: Newcastle’s Lauren Parker leads the women’s paratriathlon on the Gold Coast on Saturday. Picture: Dean Lewins

Lauren Parker was first out of the water after a sensational swim in the women’s paratriathlon on the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Lauren Parker with her bronze medal after a remarkable effort in the women’s paratriathlon on Saturday. Picture: Daniel Lewins

TweetFacebook Lauren Parker wins bronze medal at Commonwealth Games“I want to win gold in Tokyo.”

The determined statement came on Saturday after an inspirational effort from Lauren Parker to secure the Hunter region’s first medal of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Less than 12 months after a horrific training accident left herparalysed from the waist down, the Novocastrian became a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and was already “looking forward” to the next challenge.

Read more: Newcastle triathlon in fight of her life

Parker, who was training 35 hours a week at the time of her cycling accident on April 18 last year, only startedparatriathlon racing three-and-a-half months ago and was thrilled just being at the Commonwealth Games.

But the resilient 29-year-oldwas first out of the water after the swim leg on Saturdaythen opened up her lead on the handcycle before eventual winner Jade Jones, from England, and fellow n and world champion Emily Tapp caught her in the final leg.

“It was amazing. I loved every part of the race. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Parker said. “I’m so happy with the result. Just being there is a big achievement and I would’ve been happy with that, but it just tops it off with a medal.

“It’s pretty special this one because I will always look at this one being my first and knowing what I went through throughout the year to be able to get here.”

Read more: ‘Everything is harder in a chair’

The bronze-medal performance was not without incident. Parker rolled her racing chair as she entered the straight to the finish line and the crowd collectively held their breath untila course marshal helped her up, allowing her topowerhome to collect the bronze medal.

“It was quite technical the course. It’s really hard steering a track chair and I lost time on the turns and then, obviously my stupidity, doing a flip coming down to the finishing line … ,” she said.

“I was just hoping someone would flip me back over so I could finish the 50 metres I had to finish the race. It felt like a lifetime, me laying on my back like that.”

Read more: Paratriathlete claims Hunter’s first medal of Commonwealth Games

Parker is giving herself“a couple of days’ rest” before turning focus to the 2020 Toyko Paralympics and a gold medal.

She heads to Japan for a WorldCup event next month then hopes to compete at the World Triathlon Championships on the Gold Coast in September.

Charlestown teenager Erin Cleaver claimed silver in the women’s T38 long jump​ on Sunday behind Britain’s Olivia Breen in a repeat of last year’sWorld Para Athletics titles result.​

‘s trio of Ettalong’s Aron Sherriff, Barrie Lester and Nathan Rice ended up with silver after losing a nail-biting men’s triples lawn bowls final 19-14 to Scotland.

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