Paratriathlete Justin Godfrey, who trains like a professional but isn’t paid like one, must take his training to a new level to keep his Tokyo 2020 dream alive.
Godfrey’s category isn’t being offered at the Paralympics, but he can still gain selection if he can beat athletes in the section above.
The 43-year-old is a PTS3 athlete (moderate and dual impaired) and Tokyo only has PTS4 (mild impairement) available.
“Now, I’ve got to decide whether I train extra hard, I’ve got to beat somebody that’s not as disabled,” he said.
“I used to beat them, but they don’t work and get funding, so it makes it tough.”
Godfrey lost his lower right leg following complications after a motorbike crash at just 15.
It will be the third time he’s targeted the Paralympics.
He was training for wheelchair basketball for Sydney 2000 but dislocated a shoulder, while his category also wasn’t offered up for Rio in 2016.
“It’s just that little bit further away, the carrot gets dangled and then gets taken away,” he said.
“If I miss out on this one that will probably be it, third strike’s probably out.”
Godfrey’s coming off a stellar 2018 where he claimed a world title in the World Cross Triathlon Championships in Denmark.
It’s an off-road event, with mountain biking, instead of road racing, and trail running.
He also claimed his first overseas paratriathlon win in Yokohama, Japan, and was Triathlon Australia’s male paratriathlete of the year.
He was flying high but, as sport so often does, Godfrey literally came crashing back the next day.
He was contesting the series grand final on the Gold Coast and was running second, but was taken out by another rider just as he was pushing for top spot.
“I had all my family there for the first time,” he said.
“Not being a full-time athlete and not supported, it’s the sacrifices your family makes and you get them all there and for that to happen, to wreck your race, it was heartbreaking.”
It was the worst crash of his career with skin ripped off his elbows, hip and knee, while his shoulder was banged up.
Godfrey also contested last weekend’s Australian Road Cycling Championships where he was edged out by world record holder David Nicholas by four seconds.
Last year, Nicholas toppled him by three minutes.
Godfrey has worked hard to close that gap and he now faces the prospect of whether he wants to do the same this year as he dreams of Tokyo.
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