Paralympic Sports A-Z: Triathlon

Para triathlon makes its Paralympic debut
at Rio 2016. This modern, dynamic and exciting sport sees
athletes compete in the traditional swim, cycle and run but with some unique differences.
Races take place over a 750m swim, a 20km ride and a 5km run.
On leaving the water, athletes can collect assistive equipment from the pre-transition
zone prior to arriving in the transition zone. There are five sport classes, of which four
are represented at the Paralympics – PT1,2,4 and 5.
PT1 athletes swim, cycle using a handbike and do the run in a racing wheelchair.
PT2 athletes have a severe degree of activity limitation
such as a double below knee amputation or a severe neurological impairment.
PT4 athletes have a milder degree of activity limitation
such as below the elbow arm amputation or lower limb impairments.
In the cycle both PT2 and PT4 athletes can use a traditional bike
with individual adaptions which have been approved by the ITU.
Finally the PT5 athletes have visual impairments and compete with a guide, using a tandem in
the cycle. Para triathletes (often in the PT1, PT2 and PT3
class) are allowed personal handlers during competition.
They can help with: – prosthetics or other assistive devices
– lifting the athletes in and out of handcycles and wheelchairs
• removing wetsuits or clothing • repairs to equipment
and racking bikes in transition. For PT5 athletes, the guides act as handlers.
Athletes start together or grouped in waves by sport class and gender.
From that point it’s a race to finish line in this exhilarating Para sport
where athletes show incredible strength and endurance.

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