Huatulco to award two Mixed Relay Teams a golden ticket to Paris 2024 Olympics

by Olalla Cernuda on 15 May, 2024 07:30 • Español
Huatulco to award two Mixed Relay Teams a golden ticket to Paris 2024 Olympics

With the Olympic qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games just about to close on May 27, Mexico becomes the centre of the drama that surrounds the road to Paris, as the 2024 World Triathlon Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification Event Huatulco is set to decide two more Mixed Relay teams on the Paris 2024 start line.  A super-sprint course of 300m swim, 7.2km bike and 1.8km run on hot and humid conditions will be a true test for the athletes on Friday, with the individual races of the World Cup taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

With host country France; World Champions in 2022 and 2023, Great Britain and Germany, and New Zealand, Australia, USA, Switzerland, Italy and Portugal already qualified through the Mixed Relay rankings, each of the nine teams lining up in Mexico will know that, in the unpredictable world of the super-sprint relay, a top-two finish and that Olympic qualification of two men and two women is surely within reach. And that means a lot to some of them.

The race in Huatulco is key for most of the teams toeing the start line, since securing a top two spot will mean qualifying for the Olympic Games athletes who have not earned the spot by themselves on the individual Olympic qualification. This is the case for Hungary -they have three men and one woman qualified as of today-; Norway -two men and one woman as of today-; South Africa -two men and one woman qualified-; Netherlands -two women and one man qualified-; Canada -one woman, two men qualified-; and Ecuador -only one female qualified-. For other countries, like Mexico, Spain and Austria, they already have two men and two women relatively secured on the start lists in Paris so it is likely that they will have a team lining up in Paris next summer despite their placing in Huatulco.

This luxury of having anyway two men and two women “safe” in the rankings for Paris has led to some teams declining racing in the Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification Event, like Brazil or Belgium.

Considering that a victory in Huatulco will mean four tickets secured for Paris, Hungary is lining up the A team to try to secure the last spot that they need. Csongor Lehmann and Bence Bicsak flew directly from Yokohama to Mexico, while Zsanett Kuttor-Bragmayer decided to skip Yokohama to save some fresh legs for the Mexican heat. They will be joined by one of the rising stars of the country, Karolina Helga Horváth, who despite being only 22 years old, she help the Hungarian team to get the 5th place at the Junior/U23 Mixed Relay World Championships last year.

Team Norway knows that the only chance that their second female athlete, Lotte Miller, can make it to the start line in Paris is by finishing top-two this Friday in Huatulco. Miller, who has been through a series of injuries in the last two years, has dropped significantly on the rankings, but she proved only a few months ago that she is a reliable asset when it comes to a relay, as she helped the Norwegian Team to claim the gold medal at the 2023 European Games in Krakow. Norway will repeat the team that shined under the rain in Krakow: Vetle Bergsvik Thorn, Solveig Løvseth, Casper Stornes and Lotte Miller, and they seem to be on great form. The long run out of the water and the uphill on the bike course can be an asset for them, known all for their bike power and skills.

South Africa is also bringing their best athletes to Mexico, hoping to secure one of the first two places that will give a second female a ticket to the Olympics, as well as the opportunity for the South African team to redeem themselves of the bad luck that they had in Tokyo 2020, on the debut of the Mixed Relay at the Olympics, when Team South Africa was not able to take the start after Henri Schoeman crashed during the individual race and was unable to race. The Rio 2016 bronze medallist Henri Schoeman will be leading the team in Huatulco, along with the young rising star, Jamie Riddle, who showed with his silver medal at the Wollongong World Cup that he is in great shape. On the women’s side, South Africa is bringing their top three ranked females -Vicky Van Der Merwe, Bridget Theunissen and Amber Schlebusch- and will decide which two are doing the relay 24 hours before the start.  Both Schoeman and Riddle are excellent swimmers and experts on beach starts like the one in Huatulco, and have proven to be really powerful under heat and humid conditions like the ones expected during the weekend.

The Dutch Team also needs desperately a top-two position at the end of the race, to secure the second spot for the men, and Richard Murray, Rachel Klamer, Barbara de Koning and Mitch Kolkman are ready to give it a try. They all seem to like the weather conditions in Mexico, and are always a team that rises to the occasion when it matters.

Canada has brought Brock Hoel, Sophia Howell, Mathis Beaulieu and Desirae Ridenour to try to fight for the second female spot for their team. All of them great swimmers, it will be hard to follow them in the water, especially with these choppy and shallow waters on the Pacific Ocean.

Genis Grau, Sara Guerrero Manso, Pelayo Gonzalez Turrez and Maria Casals Mojica will be lining up for Team Spain. Despite being a young team with not a lot of experience, all of them have experience in sprint and super-sprint courses and get along really well with these weather conditions. Especially Grau, who is one of the favourites for the individual race on Sunday after finishing on the podium here in Huatulco in the previous two world cups.

Despite hosting the Mixed Relay Qualification Event, Mexico knows that they have secured two men and two women through the individual rankings, and therefore have decided to bring to this race a young team to give them more experience on the international field. Yael Vladimir González Melendez, Mercedes Romero Orozco, Nicolas Probert Vargas and Luisa Daniela Baca Vargas will be representing their country this Friday, with nothing to lose and much to learn.

Team Ecuador will be lining up Juan Jose Andrade Figueroa, three-times Olympian Elizabeth Bravo, Gabriel Terán Carvajal and Paula Jara, while representing Team Austria will be Tjebbe Kaindl, Julia Hauser, Alois Knabl and Lisa Perterer. For the Austrian team, they have currently two men and two women on the provisional start list for Paris, but they are all sitting in the last places of the qualified athletes, so they need to secure good performances either on the Mixed Relay or on the individual races during the weekend, to secure their spots.

The Mixed Relay Olympic Qualifier Event will start on Friday, May 17, at 7.15am local time in Mexico, and you can watch the race LIVE on
The final line-ups will not be confirmed until two hours before the race, check the start lists here.

Related Event: 2024 World Triathlon Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification Event Huatulco
17 May, 2024 • event pageall results
Results: Mixed Relay
1. Team I Norway NOR 01:20:08
2. Team I Netherlands NED 01:21:04
3. Team I Hungary HUN 01:21:16
4. Team I Spain ESP 01:21:51
5. Team I Austria AUT 01:22:38
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