A FOREST Paralympics hopeful just missed out scooping Best Male Paratriathlete of the Year.

Andy Lewis, of Lydney, was one of three people nominated for the prestigious accolade at the British Triathlon Awards Dinner, held at Chessington World of Adventures, in Surrey at the weekend.

He said he was over the moon to be a runner-up as he only started training 17 months ago.

He said: “I only started training last year so to be a runner-up is a fantastic achievement.”

The triathlete trains for around 25 hours over six days a week as part of his Road to Rio 2016.

His latest event was in Barcelona where he went with fellow Aylburton athlete Richard Hendy aka ‘Iron Rich’, who is currently ranked within the top four in the UK at Ironman and top 20 worldwide.

The pair went to the Spanish city with their families to complete a 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and marathon.

Andy said: “Rich has been absolutely instrumental in my training at home not just physically but mentally. His recent achievement deserves a mention.

“In just 17 months of doing triathlons, Rich has helped me become ranked one of the top four triathletes in the world.”

Andy will spend his winter training with the GB squad in Lanzarote in preparation for his first race next March in South Africa.

He added: “I then have to fight for my place on the Rio team leading up to July when the team will be selected. I’m sure with the support of the local people, my friends and family as well as coaches I can get there.

“Severn Valley Cycles have just sponsored me for 2016 – their kindness and support is amazing.

“I hope I can make the Forest proud one day and put it firmly on the map for sport and, in my case, disability sport.”