By Erin Greene on 20/01/14 at 12:38 pm
ITU today announced paratriathlon qualification criteria for its debut at the 2016 Paralympic Games, as well as new classifications that will be implemented for the 2014 paratriathlon season.
“Paratriathlon’s entry into the Paralympic Games will be a watershed moment for our sport,” said ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado. “The sport has grown exponentially in the last several years and ITU is working tirelessly to prepare for a successful competition in Rio
Both the men and women will feature equal fields of three medal events, allowing for a combined maximum of 60 athletes across the two genders. The qualification period will open on 1 July, 2015 and will close on June 30, 2016.
The qualification slots will be allocated to the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) through the ITU World Championships and the ITU Paralympic Qualification List, as opposed to individual athletes, with a maximum of two qualification slots per medal event allotted to an NPC.
To be eligible for selection by an NPC, athletes must both be ranked on the Qualification List by the closing date, as well as be internationally classified with either a ‘confirmed’ or ‘review’ sport class status.
The top ranked athletes in their medal events at the 2015 ITU World Championships will earn their NPC a berth to the Paralympics. Additionally, the top six ranked athletes on the ITU Paralympic Qualification List will clench their NPC a spot in Rio.
The host country will have the right to directly qualify one male and female athlete if not otherwise qualified through the above methods, with another eight qualification slots determined by the Bipartite Commission to be allocated directly to the athlete. Any qualification slot not used by an NPC will be reallocated to the next highest ranked athlete in the respective medal event on the Paralympic Qualification List. The ITU Executive Board and the IPC will decide the medal events for the Rio programme at a later stage in 2014.
ITU will also utilize a new paratriathlon classification system this season will be implemented early in 2014. There will be one sitting, three standing and one visually impaired category for both genders under the new structure. ITU recognizes seven types of impairments under its classification system: Hypertonia, Ataxia, Athetosis, Limb deficiency, Impaired Passive Range of Movement, Impaired Muscle Power and Vision Impairment.
The number of athletes will be limited for elite paratriathlon races, with the new paratriathlon events qualification criteria to be applied. The World Championships will be capped at 100 athletes, while Continental Championships will feature a maximum of 70 and World Paratriathlon Events will be limited at 60.