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Lauren Parker claims bronze in first major paratriathlon

Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images

A year ago, Lauren Parker was training for the Ironman Australia Triathlon with the goal of a podium finish on her mind.

On Saturday she did the unthinkable, winning a Commonwealth bronze medal in the women's paratriathlon on the Gold Coast.

Parker, 28, punctured her lung, broke ribs, her shoulder blade and pelvis, and damaged her spinal cord when she hit a guard rail while training on her bike last April.

Doctors gave her a one per cent chance of walking again. After some tough times, she turned to paratriathlon.

On the back of three months of training, she was able to snare third place behind Englishwoman Jade Jones and fellow Aussie Emily Tapp in her first major race.

"I've come a long way since my accident, to be here today, I'm so proud of myself," Parker said.

"I never thought I'd be doing triathlon this soon, let alone competing at a Commonwealth Games - a bronze medal just tops it off."

Englishman Joe Townsend made it an English double, taking out the men's PTWC event - finishing 49 seconds ahead of Nic Beveridge, with fellow Australian Bill Chaffey in third.

Chaffey, a five-time world champion competing in his final race, won the hearts of the crowd after recovering from a nasty crash as he left the transition area for the third of four laps on the bike.

He was in second place at the time, with Townsend gaining fast, but was forced to race the final two laps without one of his handles, which broke off in the crash.

"It was the pressure, I knew Joe was catching me and so I tried to cook it a little bit too fast around the corner," Chaffey said.

"It was just a dumb mistake."