Canberra's Katie Kelly and triathlon legend Michellie Jones join in Rio pursuit
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Canberra's Katie Kelly and triathlon legend Michellie Jones join in Rio pursuit

Sydney 2000 Olympic silver medallist and two-time triathlon world champion Michellie Jones is aiming to run at the Rio Games next year, but this time it would be for Canberra's Katie Kelly.

The Australian Sport hall of famer has become a guide for Kelly, as aspiring Paralympian who was born with Ushers Syndrome and declared legally blind in January this year.

Katie Kelly and guide Michellie Jones celebrate the win at the Yokohama World Paratriathlon event.

Katie Kelly and guide Michellie Jones celebrate the win at the Yokohama World Paratriathlon event.Credit:Delly Carr

A long-time marathon runner and long-distance triathlete, Kelly turned her focus to qualifying for the Rio Paralympics the day after ther diagnosis.

In three months she has risen to a world ranking of 12 and, if if she can crack the top 10, will be bound for Rio.

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"After seeing my ophthalmologist in January she basically confirmed that I was legally blind," Kelly said.

"My eyesight is very narrow so I don't have much peripheral vision. I can only see 6 degrees to my right or left whereas someone like you can see 170 degrees.

"It was quite devastating to get that type of news because there's no way back from there, it gets to the point where you're losing your eye sight and you have no control over that. Literally the day after the appointment I met up with Triathlon Australia, and since then it's been full-steam ahead."

just four days before their first race together, in Yokohama in May, which they won.

"I can't believe I have this opportunity, to have alongside me one of the world's best in triathlons, it's quite incredible," Kelly said. "To have someone racing with you as a guide who is in the Sports Hall of Fame, you can never imagine that."

Should she qualify, Kelly has big ambitions at the 2016 Paralympics. "This is an amazing opportunity. It's a small window of opportunity we have to qualify for Rio," she said.

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