Plenty of steps on way to Rio

Sights on Rio: Melinda Vernon looks at the road ahead. Picture: Geoff JonesIF AT first you don’t succeed, triathlon triathlon again.

That could be Melinda Vernon’s motto as she sees the endless metres, and setbacks, ahead as she aims for Rio de Janeiro and the Games in 2016.

Not the Olympics but the Paralympics, for Vernon, who lives in Penrith, is profoundly deaf. Triathlon is her new pursuit.

The sportswoman already has many national and international achievements in multiple sports.

Now she’s added to them by winning medals at the Deaflympics in Bulgaria earlier this year.

Vernon won silver in the 10,000 metres and bronze in the 5000m in 37-degree heat.

“I was really hoping for a personal best on the day,” she said.

“However, with the heat and poorly maintained track, it was a challenging race. I am stoked with my result and had an amazing time.”

The Deaflympics are a big deal, bringing together thousands of hearing-impaired athletes from more than 90 countries, and Bulgaria was Vernon’s second go.

Training is a year-round pursuit for Vernon and the goal is now Rio 2016.

Melinda Leyshon, Panthers Triathlon Club president, said of Vernon’s Bulgarian performances: “This is such a great result for Melinda and a reflection of the amazing athletic talent we have here in Penrith”.

Said the girl herself of the roads ahead: “I have heaps of work cut out for me over the new two years if I want to push for this goal”.

Vernon trains almost a dozen times a week and to go to Rio, needs to accumulate enough points on the world triathlon circuit.

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