Parker misses Para triathlon gold by 0.01s

Australia's Lauren Parker is pipped to the finish line by Kendall Gretsch in the PTWC triathlon.
Australia's Lauren Parker is pipped to the finish line by Kendall Gretsch in the PTWC triathlon.

Lauren Parker has been heartbreakingly denied a Paralympics gold medal in the women's triathlon, edged out by just 0.01 seconds.

The Australian looked set for gold after leading from the opening swim leg at Tokyo's Odaiba Marine Park on Sunday but American Kendall Gretsch powered down the home stretch to pass her just short of the finish line.

It was a dramatic day for the Australians with Parker's teammate Emily Tapp requiring 10 stitches in her leg after her race ended when she crashed into a barrier on the bike leg.

The reigning PTWC world champion, a shattered Parker was consoled post-race by Gresch and Australian team members.

"I just put my head down and went for it - I knew she was coming," Parker said.

"I knew I had to pull my head down on that finish line.

"I came here to get the gold medal and it wasn't to be but I am super proud of my silver."

The 32-year-old from Newcastle was first out of the 750 metre swim leg and managed to hold her position through the 20 kilometre cycle and into the five kilometre wheelchair leg.

She lost crucial time, however, when she got stuck behind another athlete she was lapping during the wheelchair leg.

"I did the best I could, but got stuck behind one of the girls on that last U-turn and lost a few seconds there," Parker said.

"The gold was my goal but Kendall is a great athlete and it was great competition but next time it will be a different colour."

Gresch also won gold medals in the biathlon and cross-country skiing at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Parker was an elite able-bodied triathlete before a training accident in 2017 when the tyres burst on her bike, throwing her into a guard rail and leaving her with spinal cord injuries.

She switched her focus to Para triathlons, winning bronze in the Commonwealth Games less than a year later.

Despite falling just short, Parker was satisfied with her efforts in Tokyo.

"I had a great swim, the best swim I have ever had. I felt awesome in the water," she said.

"I got onto the bike, which is my strongest event ... and I just went hard from start to finish on that bike to get as big a lead as I could for the run (wheelchair race).

"I improved a lot over the last year, even on the run, but it wasn't to be for that gold. I am still happy with my silver."

Meanwhile, David Bryant finished seventh in PTS5 triathlon in his first Paralympics while fellow Queenslander Nic Beveridge placed seventh in the PTWC, improving on his ninth in Rio.

Australian Associated Press