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Sally Pilbeam – Women in Triathlon

Sally Pilbeam – Women in Triathlon

Date: 08 Mar 2022
Posted: 2 years ago

International Womens Day 2022 is all about celebrating the achievements of women, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality. It aims to help create a world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive. To celebrate, we asked some inspiring women in our Triathlon WA community to share why they love the sport, some of their greatest achievements and advice for women who are new to our sport.

Our first profile is the incredible Sally Pilbeam; Paratriathlete, technical official, teacher, and mum of two.

Sally lost her right arm due to cancer in 2002, but didn’t let that hold her back. She is an incredible paratriathlete, using a modified bike to compete in ITU cycling races. The two-time winner of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final, has been a huge success, having topped the podium in 2014 in Alberta, Canada, and 2015 in Chicago, USA.

You can read her full World Triathlon profile here.

How did you get involved in Triathlon and what is your role now?
My Dad has been involved in triathlon since the beginning, so it was something I was part of as a teenager. After having my boys I decided to have another go to see if I could still participate after losing my arm. I raced internationally for 8 years, and after stepping back from that I have since become a technical official. I still train and am looking forward to getting back out again soon.

What do you enjoy most about Triathlon?
I love that anyone can do it and that it caters for all abilities – short distance, ultra distance and everything in between! I also love the challenge of doing 3 different sports. There are so many ways to be involved too, whether its racing, coaching or officiating or even just volunteering.

What is your greatest achievement in Triathlon, what are you most proud of?
Winning multiple World Championships is certainly one of the highlights, but I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been part of the development of paratriathlon in Australia. The experiences I’ve had travelling the world and racing with other athletes across the globe has been amazing.

What is your advice for any women who are wanting to start participating in Triathlon?
Do it!!! Just try it out. Start small – like the Women Only races (Every Woman Triathlon is coming up soon)! I can honestly say that crossing the finish line in your first triathlon is a feeling like nothing else!!

What are some of the benefits you have seen for female athletes and technical officials in our sport?
Definitely making new friends and working with like-minded people. I’ve learnt so much from coaches, officials and other athletes, both men and women. I like the fact that males and females race at the same time over the same course in local races and there are females represented in all aspects of triathlon in WA – coaching, officiating, participation, administration and executive.