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Tuomela takes bronze medal at Commonwealth Games

First major competition with new guide Emma Skaug ends with podium finish in the PTVI category

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Until just a few days ago Paralympian Jessica Tuomela wasn’t sure she’d actually be able to compete at the Commonwealth Games Para triathlon in Birmingham thanks to a heart issue, but despite having some problems during the run, the former swimming Paralympian gold medalist continued her impressive triathlon career with a bronze-medal finish today. Last year Tuomela took fifth at the Paralympics in Tokyo alongside Marianne Hogan.

Tuomela raced with Emma Skaug, a former junior and U23 competitor who has switched focus to work with Tuomela. The pair made an auspicious debut earlier this season with a silver medal performance at the World Para Series Yokohama event.

Tuomela and Skaug were second off the bike after negotiating the challenging bike course that featured lots of turns and tricky conditions thanks to the wet roads. England’s Katie Crowhurst and her partner Jessica Fullagar led into T2. Tuomela and Skaug managed to hold on to second position for most of the run, but going up a hill during the final lap Tuomela succumbed to the heart issues that have plagued her of late and was forced to slow to a walk. Northern Ireland’s Chloe Maccombe and guide Catherine Sands moved in to second place at that point.

“That’s where the hard stuff started to kick in and I could feel it thump-thumping, so I said ‘let’s just reset and race where we can and be smart in other areas,'” Tuomela said after the race. “It’s totally calmed down now, we thought it might pop up, and it did a little bit, but you just come out here with what you have on the day.”

Tuomela regrouped and they ran into the finish behind Crowhurst and Maccombe to take the bronze medal.

“Our goal here was to work better as a team, and I think that goal was achieved, but it’s also nice to have something shiny at the end,” Tuomela said after the race. “It’s a little unexpected (to have won a medal).”

You can find full results from today’s race here.

England’s David Ellis and guide Luke Pollard took the men’s race in the PTVI race, with Australian’s Jonathan Goerlach (guide David Mainwaring) and Sam Harding (guide Luke Harvey) taking the silver and bronze medals.

You can find results from the men’s race here.