CHAFFEY SORRY HE FELL
AN “absolutely shattered” Bill Chaffey has no doubt that, if not for the heavy crash, he would have won gold in last weekend’s Commonwealth Games Para Triathlon.
In the immediate wake of the crash, Tweed’s five-time world champion is dealing with scars both physical and mental: cuts, scrapes, gauges, bruises and a lingering regret over a “silly mistake”.
Physically, the overriding memory of Chaffey’s torment through the race is of a carbon fibre rod digging into an ever deepening cut in his hand.
When Chaffey crashed his handcycle in the second leg of the race, one of the handles broke, leaving him to propel his bike one-handed.
“I had a spike of carbon fibre to hold onto, which kept digging in and cutting my hand, and I couldn’t get any purchase with the left hand,” Chaffey said.
“All the work was done with my right hand for eight kilometres.
“It would be similar to pedalling on a bike with one leg. It cost me a lot of speed.”
It’s no consolation for an acutely self-reflective Chaffey, but the fact he got back on the bike at all is laudable at the least, and remarkable at best.
Most athletes would have found it too hard to recover, but Bill has a rare resolve.
Despite the disappointment, Bill says he is proud.
“For an athlete that’s only going out there to win, third place hurts a lot,” Chaffey said.
“When it’s caused because of your own lack of judgment, that hurts even more.
“Bronze doesn’t taste as sweet as gold, but I’m still appreciative of the fact I know I’m the third in the Commonwealth, and third after a devastating crash like that, and still got back on.”
HUMBLE: Bill Chaffey is reckoning with his third place finish at the Comm Games.