A record number of paratriathletes will contest this year’s ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Auckland, as the sport continues to grow ahead of its Paralympic debut in Rio 2016.
The 2012 paratriathlon world titles in New Zealand are the second since the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) officially included the sport on the Paralympic programme, and the announcement that the sport would debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
This year 109 athletes from 21 different countries are registered to compete on Monday, including athletes from New Zealand, Canada, the USA, Australia, Great Britain, Brazil, Argentina, Israel, Morocco, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Russia, South Africa, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Latvia and Serbia.
A total of 72 athletes from 18 different countries competed in the 2011 Paratriathlon World Championships in Beijing, while Budapest in 2010 was the largest world titles before New Zealand, with 88 athletes from 17 countries taking part.
Incredibly, every single athlete who won a paratriathlon world title in Beijing will be back to defend their title in Auckland. This includes France’s Yannick Bourseaux in the men’s TRI-4 and Benjamin Landier in the men’s TRI-5, Brazil’s Rodrigo Feola in the men’s TRI-6, Great Britain’s Steven Judge in the men’s TRI-3, South Africa’s Oswald Kydd in the men’s TRI-2 and Australia’s Bill Chaffey in the TRI-1.
Among the women, British athletes will be aiming to take home another hat trick of titles, with Charlotte Ellis in the TRI-6, Jane Egan in the TRI-1 and Faye McClelland in the women’s TRI-4, while the USA’s Danielle McLaughlin and Melissa Stockwell, and Canada’s Jennifer Hopkins will be hoping to defend their respective TRI-5, TRI-2 and TRI-3 titles.
The paratriathlon sprint consists of a 750km swim next to Queens Wharf, followed by a three-lap 20km bike along the water and will be topped off with 5km run/wheelchair, which circles through Princess, Queen and Cook Wharf four times. The paratriathlon races start from 3.15pm on Monday 22 October in Auckland.
These record numbers continue strong year of growth for paratriathlon, with continental and national federations staging a wide range of development activities.
Triathlon Australia kicked off the year with a paratriathlon workshop to coincide with the ITU World Triathlon Series event in Sydney, while Triathlon Canada hosted a PATCO Paratriathlon development camp ahead of the inaugural PATCO Paratriathlon Championships in Edmonton.
USA Triathlon established a 2012 USA Paratriathlon Race Series, a three-race series held in conjunction with some of the nation’s top multisport events. British Triathlon hosted a participant and talent identification day in London, Ireland hosted their first ever paratriathlon national titles, while Japanese Triathlon Union also started development initiatives in an already strong paratriathlon programme in Asia.
The ITU’s Paratriathlon Classification Research Group also continued to make progress with a workshop in San Diego, while ITU representatives attended the London 2012 Paralympic Games as a learning experience ahead of Rio.
Paratriathlon's road to the Paralympics Games has made a crucial stop in London for the 2012 Paralympic Games as ITU makes it presence as an International Paralympic Sport Federation (IPSF) for the first time
A total of 24 paratriathletes competed in the 2012 PATCO Paratriathlon Championships, with three different countries claiming titles at the inaugural stand-alone Paratriathlon continental championships for the Americas.
Paratriathlon in Australia has officially kickstarted its Paralympic pathway, with the first Triathlon Australia and Australia Paralympic Committee seminar in Sydney last Friday.