Rio Paralympian Kate Doughty has inspired several novice triathletes with strong words of encouragement diving into the open waters for the first time on Saturday.
Doughty, who was born without her right hand, was the ambassador for the Launceston Triathlon Club’s marquee women’s only race.
But the 34-year-old, who is a motivational speaker and psychologist away from competing, felt watching the recent converts to the sport proved uplifting.
“I had people come up to me after the race to tell me it was their first one … they all crossed the line smiling and it sort of inspired me again,” Doughty said.
“I’m in the offseason at the moment, so they sort of reminded me why I took up the sport and how far I’ve come.”
Doughty could relate to competitors at Beauty Point, only taking up triathlons barely three years ago.
The long-time equestrian rider heartbreakingly missed out on a qualifying spot on the horse for the 2008 and 2012 Paralympics.
Doughty interacted with the 50 Launceston entrants pre-race for motivation and further on the sidelines when they got out of the water before turning to the bike leg.
“All the competitors did a wonderful job,” she said.
“They had a bit of tough conditions out there after all this warm weather. The conditions were definitely testing them out mentally.”
Maddison Baxter took out the second-ever Launceston race of its kind.
Lucy Hamilton crossed the line second ahead of Emma Butler over the 200m swim, 10km bike and 2km run.
The second leg of the triathlon’s club championship will also be held at Beauty Point on Sunday.