Triathlete Stanford targeting European title in Glasgow
Non Stanford and teammate Vicky Holland compete at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (Credit: Reuters/Adrees Latin)
TASS athletes past and present will be chasing medals at next month’s European Championships – staged by dual hosts Glasgow and Berlin. Triathlete and TASS alumna Non Stanford will be among them.
She’s a former World Champion, finished fourth at the Rio Olympics and remains a standard bearer for women’s triathlon in the UK.
And after an injury-hit 2017, Non Stanford is determined to make up for lost time by targeting a title that has so far eluded one of the country’s most revered multi-discipline athletes.
Glasgow’s Strathclyde Country Park will stage the 2018 European Triathlon Championships next month. And Stanford – who finished sixth in the latest World Triathlon Series (WTS) event in Hamburg – is hoping to achieve a long-held ambition north of the border.
“I haven’t raced a European Championships since 2011 so I’m really excited to challenge for a major medal,” she told TASS. “I’d love to be able call myself European Champion. It’s definitely a bucket list honour!”
Right now being in the frame for a podium finish is a bonus. Despite clinching a gold medal at last summer’s WTS event in Chengdu, 2017 was Stanford’s very own annus horribilis. A painful achilles problem blighted her season and the injury ultimately affected a frustrating Commonwealth Games campaign.
“There’s no doubt that 2018 has already been better than 2017,” added the University of Birmingham graduate. “I was still battling with my achilles at the start of this year which meant my build up to Commies wasn’t ideal. And I definitely didn’t obtain what I expected of myself Down Under.
“I then went on to podium at WTS in Yokohama and was part of the GB Mixed relay team that won silver at the WTS in Nottingham. I got sidelined by a nasty virus after that but recently raced at the WTS in Hamburg and got a satisfactory sixth. Hopefully that’s a sign I’m on my way back up and with the back end of the season now in sight I’d like to try and finish on a high!”
Stanford knows success at the Europeans could be the catalyst for a tilt at silverware at Tokyo 2020. And with the Olympics just two years away the hard work starts now for an athlete conscious of British triathlon’s new breed catching up fast.
“Qualifying was tough in 2016 and it’s going to be even tougher in 2020,” she added. “The British ladies have really stepped up over the last two years and you’re now looking at 8-10 serious contenders for those three Tokyo 2020 spots!
“It’s a brilliant position for our sport to be in but next 18 months are going to be full gas for all of the athletes!”
Thanks in large part to the irrepressible Brownlee brothers, triathlon has never enjoyed a higher profile at home. And Stanford is confident the sport’s breakout success during the last decade can be sustained.
“Success comes in peaks and troughs and it’s inevitable we will have golden periods followed by some quieter times,” she added. “It’s always going to be difficult for the next generation to live up to the high standard that the Brownlees have set. I honestly believe Alistair is a once in a lifetime athlete who won’t be quickly replaced.
“However, I also believe that success breeds success and that is evident on the women’s side at the moment with so many British women being consistent podium contenders on the world stage and lots of exciting and motivated talent coming up from behind.
“I think with the right attitude and environment there is no need for that momentum to be lost and we’ll hopefully see Britain maintaining its name as one of the most successful triathlon nations in the world for years to come.”
The full list of TASS athletes and alumni set to compete at the European Championships and the years they were supported by the programme is as follows:
- Jake Wightman – 13/14
- Andy Vernon – 04/05
- David King – 13/14, 14/15
- Adam Hague – 14/15
- Charlie Myers – 15/16, 16/17
- Feron Sayers – 13/14, 14/15
- Harry Aikines-Aryeetey – 04/05
- Cameron Chalmers – 16/17
- Callum Wilkinson – 16/17
- Dina Asher-Smith – 12/13
- Anyika Onuora – 04/05
- Steph Twell – 05/06
- Lucy Bryan – 11/12, 12/13, 14/15
- Jazmin Sawyers – 10/11, 11/12
- Naomi Ogbeta – 16/17, 17/18
- Sophie McKinna – 11/12, 12/13
- Eden Francis – 05/06
- Shannon Hylton – 13/14, 15/16
- Emily Diamond – 11/12
- Robyn Birch – 11/12, 12/13
- Tom Ford – 13/14, 14/15
- Tom Ransley – 07/08
- Angus Groom – 10/11, 11/12, 12/13
- Jamie Copus – 14/15, 16/17, 17/18
- Zak Lee-Green – 10/11
- John Collins – 10/11
- Jonny Walton – 10/11, 11/12
- Sara Parfett – 13/14
- Caragh McMurtry – 11/12
- Emily Ashford – 13/14
- Jo Wratten – 12/13
- Katherine Douglas – 10/11, 11/12
- Karen Bennett – 11/12, 12/13
- Ellie Piggott – 11/12
- Emily Craig – 13/14, 14/15
- Ben Proud – 12/13
- James Wilby – 14/15
- James Guy – 2012 (Brazil)
- Sophie Coldwell – 11/12
- Non Stanford – 08/09, 09/10