By Paul Osborne

British Triathlon has named the 12-strong squad due to recieve UK Sport Lottery Funding for 2015 ©British TriathlonBritish Triathlon has confirmed the 12 Para-triathletes who will benefit from its UK Sport Lottery funds in the 2015 season.

The squad consists of a range of current and former world champions, including Laura Steadman and Alison Patrick, who won PT4 and PT5 titles at this year's World Triathlon Grand Final in Edmonton.

Also in the squad is four-time world champion Faye McClelland, unbeaten in international competition for three years before finishing runner-up to Steadman at the London World Series Para-triathlon in May.

Further world champions include Clare Cunningham and Melissa Reid, the PT5 world champions in 2009 and 2013 respectively. 

PT1 stars Phil Hogg, the 2013 European champion, and Joe Townsend, the 2014 European bronze medallist, round off the seven athletes receiving UK Sport funding at the podium level, which supports athletes with realistic medal winning capabilities at the next Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Andrew Lewis, Rhiannon Henry, Ryan Taylor, David Hill and George Peasgood complete the squad and will receive finding via UK Sport's podium potential level, which comprises of athletes whose performances have suggested that they have realistic medal winning capabilities at Tokyo 2020. 

Four-time world champion Faye McClelland saw her three-year unbeaten run brought to an end by team mate Laura Steadman in London this year ©Getty ImagesFour-time world champion Faye McClelland saw her three-year unbeaten run brought to an end by team mate Laura Steadman in London this year ©Getty Images

"With Rio only just over a year and a half away we expect to see Para-triathlon make big strides forward next season," said British Triathlon performance manager Jonathon Riall.

"The benefit of UK Sport Lottery funding is that this squad can focus completely on preparing for Rio.

"As a programme we've made huge steps forward this year, including developing our Loughborough training Hub, but there is more work to do.

"We have a recruitment programme running at the moment to find new guides for our visually impaired athletes and we are much stronger in some categories than others.

"At this stage in the Paralympic cycle it may be late to bring on new talent, but we're excited to welcome some new names to the elite programme this year, including Rhiannon Henry, Ryan Taylor and Andrew Lewis."

The Para-triathlon season is due to start in March 2015 with the opening round of the International Triathlon Union World Para-triathlon series in East London, South Africa.

Many eyes will be looking ahead to August, however, as Rio de Janeiro host a test event ahead of next year's Paralympic Games.

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