Rising triathlon star sets sights on Paris Olympics

Lucy Charles-Barclay

Lucy Charles-Barclay in action at Roundhay Park. - Credit: Beat Media

A rising triathlon star from Hatfield has set her sights on qualifying for the Paris 2024 games after an impressive debut in an Olympic distance race. 

Lucy Charles-Barclay came fifth in the race at AJ Bell 2021 World Triathlon in Leeds, exceeding all expectations as she finished with a time of 1hr 56m 50s – despite only finding out she was taking part less than two weeks ago. 

After the race, the 27-year-old revealed she has her sights set on qualifying for Team GB and the 2024 Olympic games in Paris. 

“I thought top ten would be amazing so coming fifth definitely exceeds my expectations,” she said. 

“I found out Wednesday last week and I was "umm-ing" and "ahh-ing" about whether to do it as I hadn’t done the training I’d wanted for this. 

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“It’s so different to anything I’ve done before. I went in feeling like a novice but I thought ‘you know what, this is all new to me, let’s go in with no pressure and see what happens’. 

“Given another race, having another opportunity to work on these skills, hopefully I can only improve from here. 

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“My ultimate ambition is definitely trying to qualify for the Olympics in Paris. This was something to see if that was possible and I’m in contention for that to be a possibility.” 

Charles-Barclay has had Olympic ambitions in the past, failing to qualify for the Team GB swimming team in both the pool or open water for the London 2012 games as a teenager. 

She then turned to the triathlon in 2016 and went on to collect three consecutive silver medals at the Ironman World Championship between 2017 and 2019. 

“I’ve had a very different journey into triathlon and I’m very fortunate with my background in swimming, which gives me that head start in the beginning,” said Charles-Barclay. 

“I had to put in some fairly big efforts to get back on the group on the bike, which I actually quite enjoyed and it’s a good challenge. 

“It just shows you don’t have to follow a set path in sport – do what you want to do and make it happen.” 

She was also delighted to be roared on by a 4,000-strong crowd in Roundhay Park, adding: “I’m not used to racing in the UK and all I could hear was my name, which was amazing and made a big difference.”

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