Daphne is a Euro triathlon champ again – at age of 84

Littlehampton’s Daphne Belt is a European triathlon champion again – at the grand age of 84.
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In her last year in the 80-84 age group, she triumphed at the 2023 European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Madrid – having already qualified for the 2024 event.

Belt was the 2022 European champion in her age group following victory in Munich.

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Speaking after her return from Madrid, where she was the oldest woman in the race, delighted Belt told us: “I had an excellent race and I won my age group by more than six minutes.

Daphne Belt is all smiles after her age-group winDaphne Belt is all smiles after her age-group win
Daphne Belt is all smiles after her age-group win

"The next woman to finish, also from Team GBR, is only in my age group once in five years which makes her four years younger that me.

"She is just 80 and I am 84 so next year I go into the 85-89 age group and I might well be the first woman to compete in that.

"My race time this year was 1.54 15. I had a really good bike section which is where I dropped my younger team-mate.

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"I can’t tell you how happy I am. There had been a series of ferocious thunderstorms that had affected the water in the lake and so the swim was cancelled for safety reasons.

Daphne Belt in action in MadridDaphne Belt in action in Madrid
Daphne Belt in action in Madrid

"The swim was replaced with an extra run at the start, before the bike ride, which was hilly.

"The finish was in front of the Royal Palace in Madrid.”

And did Daphne have a weekend off after Madrid? Don’t you believe it…

“The following weekend I was competing in the Royal Windsor triathlon,” she said.

Daphne in the cycle stageDaphne in the cycle stage
Daphne in the cycle stage
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"It was so hot in Windsor, let alone for an Olympic distance triathlon.

"The heat was in the low 30s by the time I got out on the run, which went up the High Street, under the castle towers, past Queen Victoria’s statue and into that Long Walk.

"The last time we were on the Long Walk was for the Queen’s funeral last year.

"It was another marvellous venue for triathlon, even straight after going to Madrid for the European sprint championships the previous week.

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"The last couple of kilometres were with the Royal Palace, the Cathedral and the Opera House in sight.”

Belt’s swim training is at Littlehampton Wave, who have supported her for the 32 years she has competed.