The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Triathlon Union (ITU) have confirmed the Para-triathlon categories that will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Building on the six medal categories at Rio 2016, there will now be eight in Tokyo.
The following categories will be included in Tokyo, with women’s wheelchair athletes and male visually impaired athletes getting an opportunity to race at Paralympic level for the first time.
Male categories: PTWC, PTS4, PTS5, PTVI
Female categories: PTWC, PTS2, PTS5, PTVI
National Manager Para-triathlon, Kathryn Periac said, “The announcement of the 8 medal events for the Tokyo Paralympic Games brings great opportunity for some of Australia’s finest Para-triathletes. Yet at the same time the limited number of medal events, a full ITU program would be 12 medal events, means several great Australian Para-triathletes will miss the opportunity to compete in Tokyo simply because their class is not included.”
Successful Australians this impacts, include;
- Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) – World champion in 2014 and 2015, silver medallist 2016 and 2017
- Justin Godfrey (PTS3) – Dual World cross triathlon champion, 2017 World bronze medallist
- Brant Garvey (PTS2) – First out of T1 at Rio 2016, top 10 at Worlds since 2014
Triathlon Australia would like to acknowledge the outstanding contributions on and off the triathlon stage over many years of these athletes and while not able to contest in Tokyo we look forward to their continued participation in the sport.
There is a finite number of athletes in all sports that can compete at a Paralympic Games and the IPC works with the International Federations, for triathlon the ITU, to identify which events will be included at each Paralympic Games.
Competition continues to be held in all ITU classes at World Cups, World Para-triathlon Series and World Championships.
An opportunity now exists for potential Para-triathletes out there with the right background to transfer into the sport, race in summer 2019 and potentially qualify for the team in 2020. Triathlon Australia is especially seeking female athletes to potentially represent in Tokyo in the PTS2 category, as they currently have no one competing in this classification.
This category is defined as above knee amputation or impairment, cerebral palsy and/or a combination of impairments. If you need any evidence it can be done, Rio 2016 Paralympians Katie Kelly (gold) and Kate Doughty (5th) had their first Para-triathlon races in summer 2015.
If you would like further information or are interested in this opportunity, please contact Kathryn Periac via Kathryn.firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0422 586 463. Alternatively, you can register to attend a Para-sport Talent Search testing session here.
Of the eight medal classes included, Australia has the following athletes racing at international level. Each of them will now have the opportunity to compete for qualification and selection for the Australian Paralympic Team.
PTWC Women and Men (Wheelchair)
The PTWC men were included in Rio and the women were not.
- Emily Tapp – 2017 World champion and Commonwealth Games silver medallist
- Lauren Parker – winner of the 2018 Iseo World Para-triathlon Series (WPS) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist
- Nic Beveridge – finished 4th at the 2017 World Championships and competed in Rio, silver medallist at the Commonwealth Games
- Bill Chaffey – finished 4th at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, five-time World champion and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist
PTVI Women and Men (Vision Impaired)
The PTVI women were included in Rio, while the men were not.
- Katie Kelly won the Rio gold medal with her guide Michellie Jones, and is the 2017 World champion.
- Jonathan Goerlach competed at his first World Championships in 2012 and recently won his first WPS in Edmonton, Canada with guide Sam Douglas.
- Gerrard Gosens and his guide Stephen Thompson most recently finished 4th at the Iseo WPS in June.
- Clint Pickin and Liam Twomey are two younger athletes making their way into the top ranks of athletes in this class.
PTS5 Men and Women
Both male and female athletes in this class were included in Rio.
- Kate Doughty finished 5th in Rio and 4th at the 2017 World Championships. She has recently given birth to a son, Henrik, and is intending to return to competition next year to go for gold in Tokyo.
- Josh Kassulke narrowly missed achieving a high enough ranking to qualify for Rio and is determined to make sure that he is there in 2020.
- Molly Wallace, who has been competing against able-bodied athletes in the TA Australian Youth Series, is old enough to start competing internationally in 2019, and is a smoky who could make her first Paralympic team.
Australia currently has no athletes competing in this class.
There is the opportunity for someone with the right background to take up the challenge of Para-triathlon and qualify and succeed in Tokyo.
In 2015, three Australian female athletes had their first Para-triathlon races in summer, and by September at the World Championships were on the podium (Katie Kelly, Kate Doughty, Emily Tapp) – it is possible to transfer rapidly with success.
In this class athletes with an above knee amputation or similar, or significant cerebral palsy are eligible to compete. A combination of different lesser impairments may also see someone classified into this class.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will feature 4,400 athletes who will contest 540 medal events across 22 sports. The Games will take place between 25 August and 6 September 2020.
By Triathlon Australia