Triathlon: Non Stanford sets sights on Rio 2016 place

Non Stanford
Non Stanford trains with male Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee and his brother Jonathan

Non Stanford is focused on qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio after making her comeback from injury.

The 26-year-old Welsh athlete came seventh in the International Triathlon Union World Series race in Yokohama on 16 May, after 20 months out.

"The whole aim of this season is to try and qualify this year," Stanford said.

"It's a really tough selection policy. We have to podium in both the test event in Rio and the World Series Grand Final in Chicago this year."

Great Britain Olympic team selection hangs on those two events in August and September 2015, and Stanford - the World Triathlon champion in 2013 - is eager to make her mark once again.

"Pre-selection is tough, I think it's the toughest selection policy in the world," Stanford told BBC Radio Wales Sport.

"There is a chance next year as well but I'm really hopeful of doing it this year and not having to worry about it next year."

Stanford suffered a foot injury in the autumn of 2013, and was preparing to represent Wales at the 2014 Commonwealth Games when a stress fracture ruled her out of that event.

But she looked in decent form on her return in Yokohama and would have finished higher up the placings but for a time penalty.

"It was great to be back out there and great to be part of the ITU World Series again," she said.

"I was really worried about going back and feeling like a bit of a newcomer again, but I felt right at home straight away.

"I finished seventh, that included a penalty for not putting my wetsuit in a box again - I need to be tidier!"

Stanford lives and trains in Leeds and the city will host a round of the ITU World Series in summer 2016 in the build-up to the Olympic Games in Rio.

"It'll be a bit weird waking up in my own bed and going to a World Series race, rather than being in a hotel... it'll feel like you're just off for your Saturday morning run session," Stanford added.

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