By Clare Quinn
Para triathlete Claudy twins are set to qualify for the Northern Ireland Team for the Commonwealth Games after claiming National Championship’s top positions. Chloe and Judith MacCombe, who were diagnosed with albinism at birth, took Gold and Silver respectively at the recent National Championships in Limerick. The twins, 26, are now placed eighth and tenth in the top ten Commonwealth Games rankings for the 2022 Birmingham Games.
The MacCombe sisters have been competing since 2018 in the triathlon discipline and their success accelerated quickly. In the 2019 National Paratriathlon Championships in Drogheda, Judith took first place and Chloe second, a reversal of the 2021 result. Their commitment to their progress is evident through their daily training at Foyle Arena through an elite Council Athlete Support Membership Scheme.
Chloe emphasises their desire to compete and the support that the membership has provided to the twins:
“The membership scheme has had a massive impact on our success, training for a triathlon is very expensive and we don’t get any funding, so it has been a real lifeline.
“To compete at the Commonwealth Games alongside my sister would be a dream come true and that goal drives us every day to train harder and get faster.”
Judith and Chloe credit their foundations in triathlon to a chance meeting with Irish Triathlon High Performance Coach Eamon Tilley. Having previously competed at rugby and rowing as Ulster University Geography students in Coleraine, they were eagerly snapped up for triathlon training.
When Covid hit in 2020, it was a difficult blow for the girls who ran and cycled Claudy’s back roads to keep active. They were pleased to return to training at Foyle Arena with Derry City and Strabane District Council’s (DCSDC) Athlete Support Membership Scheme. The scheme aims to provide talented local amateur athletes with free and local access to excellent facilities to prepare them for competition.
DCSDC Sports Co-ordinator, Keith Thompson explained the impact of the scheme:
“World level athletes need world class facilities to compete at the highest level and we are delighted to be able to support a number of elite athletes at the Foyle Arena through free membership.”
To find out more information and apply for the Athlete Support Membership Scheme, email firstname.lastname@example.org.