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Para triathlon

A visually impaired competitor in yellow and green runs with a guide who holds a tether

What is Para triathlon?

In this open air sport, Para athletes swim 750m, cycle 20km and run 5km.

Compared to triathlon at the Olympics, Paralympic events use the ‘sprint’ distance, which is half the length of Olympic events.

Para triathlon is practiced in 37 countries and is one of the fastest growing Para sports in the world.

History of Para triathlon

Para triathlon is a relatively new sport. It was introduced to the Paralympic Games for the first time at Rio 2016.

How do you compete in Para triathlon?

Para athletes race in 3 disciplines: 750 m swimming, 20 km cycling and 5 km running.

Who can compete in Para triathlon?

There are 9 sports classes in Para triathlon.  

PTWC 1-2: Para athletes with limitations in lower and upper limbs. These athletes use a handcycle for the cycling segment and a racing chair for the running segment.  PTWC1 and PTWC2 compete in combined events, with an interval start system per sport class to ensure a level playing field.  

PTS2-5: Para athletes with limitations in lower and/or upper limbs who do not require a handcycle for the cycling segment or a racing chair for the running segment. Athletes can use assistive devices such as prosthetic legs and/or bike modifications.  

PTVI 1-3: Para athletes with vision impairment. Interval starts ensure a level playing field between partially sighted triathletes and blind triathletes competing with a guide.  

Equipment in Para triathlon

Para athletes may use a hand cycle or a tandem bicycle (with a guide for competitors with a vision impairment) on the bike portion, and wheelchairs are permitted for the run portion. 

Para triathlon in New Zealand

Para triathlon is currently supported in some regions in New Zealand. Register your interest now and we will help you to find a Para sport for you in your local area!

See also information on taking part on Triathlon New Zealand’s website.

For more information on Para triathlon visit the International Triathlon Union.

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