Gold medal shock for Melanie in World Triathlon championships

Kenilworth sports star Melanie Easter is celebrating again after coming home with a gold medal after taking part in the World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver.

Despite only being introduced to the sport this year, the partially-blind former swimming champion came first among blind and partially-sighted athletes at the event on June 8.

She said: “Winning the gold medal was an amazing feeling. Taking part was a fantastic experience and very exciting - I really enjoyed it.

“I am quite new to triathlon so was not expecting to do so well.”

Having won gold, silver and bronze medals for paralympic swimming events at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 as well as gold and silver in Atlanta in 1996, the Swiss Close resident took up cycling competitively last year, then decided to combine the two - with running thrown in - some months ago.

She said: “You need to be good at all three sports - that’s the hardest thing about triathlon. Running is the hardest for me.

“But it’s nice to have three different disciplines and a variety in training.”

Finding the time to train, on top of looking after her two-year-old son and working as a part-time physiotherapist, is the most challenging part of being a triathlon athlete for Ms Easter, who was born partially-sighted.

She said: “The training takes up a lot of time - I need somebody to help me with cycling and swimming.

“But I can’t imagine my life without training - if I ever feel frustrated or angry, I go for a swim or a cycle and I feel much better.”

Having grown up in Kenilworth, Ms Easter studied at Exhall Grange School in Coventry, where she discovered her love for sport. After attending Birmingham university, she moved back to Kenilworth and now continues to live there with her husband Richard Barrott and son Asa.

Ms Easter is keen to introduce others to her new-found passion. She said: “There are some really good short triathlon events for people who are just beginning. It’s such a fun sport - I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys exercise.”

Melanie would like to thank the Warwickshire Golf and Country Club, Mike Vaughan's cycles and Standard Chartered for all their help. She added: “I train at the Warwickshire most days, swimming, going to spinning classes and running on the treadmills - and Mike Vaughan has lent me a great turbo trainer and bike to train on, which has been invaluable.”