Mike Salisbury, who was born with a congenital limb defect to his left arm, will compete in the men’s PTS5 classification of the World Triathlon Para Cup in A Coruña, on Sunday.
The geography teacher and assistant head of Sixth Form at Dame Allan’s Schools, in Fenham, started competing internationally last season, after winning gold at both the 2021 British Triathlon Grand Final and British Paratriathlon Championships.
At the end of May, Mike came second at the European Paratriathlon Championships, in Poland, with a time of 47 minutes and 13 seconds. He finished 19 seconds faster than bronze-medal winner George Peasgood, who represented Great Britain at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. Gold was won by two-time Paralympic champion, Martin Schulz of Germany.
“I’ve gained a lot of confidence from competing at a continental championship event against some of the best athletes in the world in my class,” said Mike, from Newcastle.
“The whole experience was fantastic. Talking to coaches and training with athletes on the British Triathlon Olympic and Paralympic World Class Programmes was hugely beneficial, and allowed me to learn from the wealth of experience within the British team.”
Change of format
The race in Olsztyn changed its format to a run-bike-run duathlon due to the cold water conditions – a change Mike was able to take advantage of.
He admitted: “While being a frustration to other athletes, this format played to my strengths and I was delighted that my bike time had improved compared to others in the field.
“However, I’m looking forward to a more even playing field at the World Cup on Sunday to see how I get on with swim leg of the race.”
Mike aims to place in the top 5 at A Coruña and hopes to then compete in three major events in July: the Montreal World Series; the British Championships at Eton Dorney; and the Swansea World Series.
In August, he hopes to defend his title at the 2022 Grand Final in Sunderland. The competition will bring together top UK athletes from the Youth and Junior, Senior and Paratri British Triathlon Super Series to compete along the city’s seafront.
“This is a really high-profile event, and a title I won last year when it was held in Leicestershire, so I’m certainly hoping for some local success!” said Mike, who has taught at Dame Allan’s Schools for almost 12 years.
Mike is ranked 22nd in the world and 2nd in the UK in his PTS5 category, which is for ambulant athletes with mild impairments. He is also a fully-qualified mountain leader with World Challenge Expeditions and has led school trips to Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Dame Allan’s supported him through his qualification.
Principal Will Scott said: “Mike is such a dedicated sportsman and an inspiration to us all. He has everyone at Dame Allan’s Schools rooting for him.”