A PARA-TRIATHLETE inspired by a Keighley club is gunning for further global glory following a successful year of action.

Stuart Meikle, 43, is enjoying a two-week break from training after capping off a fine 2018 of action with a gold medal at the Funchal World Cup event in Portugal last month.

As part of the seven-strong British Triathlon Para Talent Squad, he completed a 750-kilometre swim, a 20km bike ride and a 5km run to finish first.

Meikle had his right leg amputated at the knee when he was just six months old due to complications following his birth. He was inspired to take up running after taking his children to Keighley & Craven Athletics Club training sessions at University Academy Keighley.

He began training for triathlons in September last year, only a few weeks after running his first 10k on a blade and was invited to a British Paratriathlon trial in Loughborough

Meikle attended a training weekend at Loughborough University, the GB headquarters for the triathlon, and following that was selected to be part of the Paralympic Triathlon Talent Squad.

He said: "My aim when I got to Portugal was to just get on the podium. All of my training paid off. It's great to be able to finish the season with a gold medal.

"I am in a good position to start being selected for World Series races. That's as big as it gets.

"I will discuss with my coaches in Loughborough a race plan for next year.

"My category was one of two to be dropped from the paratriathlon in Tokyo games. I won't be Olympic champion in Tokyo now, but my focus is on becoming world and European champion.

"I am in good shape and had a good block of training. I went into the swim in Portugal feeling confident, but the water was very choppy. When I came out of the water I could see one of them catching me up, but I was still in the lead. The run for me is the weaker one, but I managed to hold them off."

Other highlights of his year included picking up a silver medal at a British Championship race in July.

Meikle, who lives in Bingley, added he is looking for funding to take him to the next level in his sport and thanks Keighley & Craven for their support.

He added: "Keighley & Craven has been instrumental in my success. I train there twice a week. They are a great club and they really do support me. I do all of my training towards Skipton and Keighley, it is easier there. I am busy as I have muy own business

"I need as much help as I can get with sponsorship. All of these guys I am trying to catch up with are full-time athletes.

"I am the only para-triathlete from this area. There is a guy from Blackpool, he is the nearest. I want to get the whole of Yorkshire behind me.

"I am trying to do more with disabled sport. I have been asked to go into schools to do talks."

To make a donation, or for more information, contact him at stuartmeikle.com or @StuMeikletri