By Masa Takaya on 28/06/11 at 11:55 pm
A total of 51 Paratriathletes lined up on the sizzling pavement for a sprint in front of massive crowds in Pontevedra, Spain, only a few hours before the elite men’s showdown at the European Championships on Saturday.
Athletes faced grueling conditions with intense heat and almost no breeze to cool them during the 5 km run and 20 km bike ride that followed the 750-meter swim. The determination they demonstrated inspired the crowds, who filled the stadium with loud cheers.
Competition was sometimes tight, as in the men’s events. In the T4 category (arm impairment including paralysis), Peter Boronkay (HUN) won a thrilling race by a tiny 29 seconds, ahead of Lars Hansen (GER), earning him a particularly rapturous welcome at the finish.
“Some amazingly talented and fit athletes, who are competing at elite level in Paratriathlon, and who may have any combination and degree of loss of limb, coordination, sight or have a spinal cord injury,” ITU Vice President Sarah Springman said. “Their passion to race hard and give no quarter, and their ability to adapt, are deeply impressive as are some of the technological solutions they adopt to help their athletic performances.”
Nine countries claimed spots on the podiums, including Spain, Great Britain, Austria, Hungary, France, Serbia, Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
The men took part in six different categories, while the women filled three categories.
“Europe is the most active continent in promoting Paratriathlon and is, together with the USA, leading development and progress in most classification categories for men and women,”. “Giving paratriathletes an opportunity to compete annually over the sprint distance inclusively in the European Championships is absolutely essential.”
The ITU has been developing Paratriathlon for over 15 years. There are currently six categories for physically challenged athletes to compete in over the sprint Paratriathlon distance of 750m swim, 20km bike (handcycle/tandem/bicycle), 5km run (run/wheelchair) at the ITU World Triathlon Championships each year.
2011 ITU Paratriathlon World Championships are scheduled for September during the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final Beijing. Paratriathlon has been added to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games programme.
2011 Pontevedra ETU Triathlon European Championships - 25 June 2011
Final Results - Paratriathlon
- Female TRI-1: Gold - Jane Egan (GBR) 1:52:47
- Female TRI-4: Gold - Faye McClelland (GBR) 1:22:04
- Female TRI-6: Gold - Charlotte Ellis (GBR) 1:22:37
- Male TRI-1: Gold - Francesc Sola Garcia (ESP) 1:24:59
- Male TRI-2: Gold - David Peiffer (FRA) 1:34:03
- Male TRI-3: Gold - Steven Judge (GBR) 1:20:38
- Male TRI-4: Gold - Peter Boronkay (HUN) 1:15:25
- Male TRI-5: Gold - Ernst Scheiber (AUT) 1:15:34
- Male TRI-6: Gold - Lazar Filipovic (SRB) 1:13:19
Find more details about this event - 2011 Pontevedra ETU Triathlon European Championships