A CHESTER athlete will this weekend compete in the world’s biggest triathlon almost three years to the day since suffering career-threatening injuries.
Oly Stanley, 23, from Upton, was out of competitive action until June of this year after he was hit by a car when leading a race in Rossett. But now is he is fully fit and ready to tackle the sport’s elite at the London Triathlon.
Oly, who could not walk without pain until March of this year, said: “I’m in the elite wave and, as far as I know, all the British Olympic triathletes are taking part.
“I finished in 15th place just before my accident three years ago, but I was still a junior then.”
Oly’s potential seemed destined to remain untapped but, after a series of operations to repair his hips and a rehabilitation which felt never ending, a breakthrough finally came.
The former Abbey Gate College student said: “An operation I had in March wasn’t quite as big as others I’ve had. But between my previous operation in the summer, and Christmas, I had got my training together.
“So I walked into this one fit rather than injured, which made the recovery a lot quicker.”
Oly’s return to competition came in June when he finished second in Chester’s annual swimming event, the Dee Mile.
He then switched to sprint triathlons, winning in Llandudno and finishing third in two separate top-class races in London.
“My main aim for the London Triathlon is to measure where I’m at,” said Oly, who is based at Loughborough University, training as a member of the Great Britain high performance squad while studying sports management.
“This will be the first time in three years that I have competed at Olympic distance against elite athletes. I’m training with some of the guys who went to the Olympics so I know I can be at that level.”
With the 2012 Olympics Games looming, Oly has given the London extravaganza some thought.
“I wouldn’t have had all of these operations if I didn't think that I could get there,” said Oly. “I’m not just doing this for a bit of fun. In my heart I think I can go to that level, but it’s whether I can reach that level as quickly as I need to.”