AS far as preparations for the start of the ITU Paratriathlon World Cup series go, Aidan McGlynn’s have been less than ideal. In the week leading up to Sunday’s opening round in Spain, the Strabane native has had his car accidentally damaged and had two family members admitted to hospital – thankfully only briefly.
And while he would have preferred for none of those things to have happened at any time, the week before a race was particulalry less than ideal.
Regardless, and with plenty of pent-up emotions stored and ready to be burned off in the swim, bike and run in Aguilas, he is champing at the bit to get his season underway following a winter of intense preparation.
“I’ve done a lot of biking and structured sessions. The weather here over the winter was just so hit and miss that we had to do a lot of indoor sessions and I had two good training camps in Lanzarote, so I’m looking forward to the first race and the year ahead,” he said.
“I’m stronger and better prepared than this time last year but the first race is always a step into the unknown because it’s all well and good doing independent sessions and feeling good in yourself. But it’s not until you put it all together against the rest of the athletes that you learn where you are and see how it will all pan out.
“I’m excited and I’ll be glad to get the first race under my belt to see where we’re going. I’m strong, confident and a lot better prepared!”
McGlynn, who works in the sports science department at Queen’s University in Belfast, brought his 2017 campaign to a confidence and morale-boosting conclusion with second place in the final round in Florida. And while he is hoping for plenty of similar days out this term, his overall aim for this season is to move up from his current world ranking of 14th into the top 10 as he bids to secure a place at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“This month is very busy with athletes like me, ranked outside the top 10, between 10 and 20, scrambling all over the world trying to get points,” he explained ahead of his trip to Spain, which is followed a few days later by a journey to Yokahama in Japan and then to Eton Dorney in England before the end of May.
“The whole aim this season is to get enough points to get into the top 10 in the world, which would qualify me for the World Championship at Surfers Paradise in the Gold Coast in Australia.
“And then, if I finish in the top 8 there, I’d be starting 2019 in the top 10 and that would take the pressure off trying to qualify for the Olympics,” he concluded.