Paratriathlon classification is the classification system for athletes participating in paratriathlon. It is governed by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) The sport has been included in the 2016 Summer Paralympics.
Classification system from 2014
The ITU revised the Paratriathlon classification system in preparation for the sport's debut at the 2016 Summer Paralympics. The ITU formed a Paratriathlon Classification Research Group to develop an evidence-based and sports specific classification system, drawing on work in swimming, cycling and athletics.
The result of the research is a new classification system which has been implemented during the 2014 season. There are five classes, PT1 to PT4 is for athletes with various mobility impairments with PT1 for the most impaired and PT4 for the least impaired. PT5 is for visually impaired athletes.
- PT1 - Athletes with mobility impairments such as muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis that render them incapable of safely running or pedalling a bicycle. They must have a classification assessment score of up to 640,0 points. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle during the cycling stage and a racing wheelchair for the running phase of the race.
- PT2 - Athletes with mobility impairments such as muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis that have a classification assessment score of up to 454,9 points. Amputees may use approved prostheses or supportive devices during the running and cycling stages.
- PT3 - Athletes with mobility impairments such as muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis that have a classification assessment score from 455,0 to 494,9 points. Athletes may use approved prostheses or supportive devices during the running and cycling stages.
- PT4 - Athletes with mobility impairments such as muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis that have a classification assessment score from 495,0 to 557,0 points. Athletes may use approved prostheses or supportive devices during the running and cycling stages.
- PT5 - Athletes with a visual impairment. All qualifying levels of visual impairment, IBSA/IPC defined sub-classes B1, B2, and B3, are grouped together in this classification. Athletes must have a sighted guide of the same gender and nationality during the entire race and use a tandem bicycle during the cycling stage.
Pre-2014 classification system
Until the 2014 season the ITU classified paratriathletes into 6 classes:
- TRI 1 - Wheelchair user: Includes Paraplegic, Quadriplegic, Polio, Double Leg Amputee and disabilities that prevent the safe use of a conventional bicycle. Must use hand cycle on bike course and racing wheelchair on the run.
- TRI 2 - Severe leg impairment,including above knee amputees. Must ride bicycle and run with above knee prosthesis or run using crutches.
- TRI 3 - Les Autres: Includes athletes with Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, double leg amputee or paralysis in multiple limbs. Must ride a bicycle or tricycle and run. May use braces or prosthesis.
- TRI 4 - Arm impairment: Includes paralysis, above elbow amputees and below elbow amputees, or impairment in both upper limbs. Must ride a bike. May use prosthesis, brace or sling on the bike and/or run.
- TRI 5 - Moderate leg impairment: Includes below-knee amputees. Must ride a bicycle and may run with prosthesis.
- TRI 6a - Visual impairment, total blindness or may be able to perceive light but not recognise the shape of a hand at any distance or direction. Competes with a guide of the same gender and uses a tandem bicycle.
- TRI 6b - Visual Impairment: Includes visual acuity of less than 6/60 vision or visual field less than 40 degrees with best corrective vision. One guide of the same gender is mandatory throughout the race.
This classification system was used at National, Continental and World Paratriathlon Championships until the end of the 2013 season.
Levels of Classification
As in many other sports, there are three levels of paratriathlon classification available: Provisional, National and International. The first is for athletes who do not have access to a full classification panel; it is a temporary indication of class, generally used only in lower levels of competition. The second can be used in all domestic competitions. To compete internationally, an International-level classification is required. Many disabled triathletes compete entirely in age-group races, without going through the classification process.
Ironman triathlon classification
- Handcycle - Physically challenged athletes who are paraplegic, quadriplegic or double above-the-knee amputees, and race using a hand cranked cycle on the bike segment and a racing chair for the run. These athletes would be classified TRI-1 in ITU races.
- Lower Extremity - This includes single below-the-knee amputees, in which a standard bicycle is used, and run with prosthesis or crutches. These athletes would be classified TRI-5 in ITU races.
- Wheelchair One - This division consists of single above-the-knee amputees who ride a standard bicycle, but use a racing chair on the run. There is no ITU equivalent of this division.
- Wheelchair Two - This division consists of athletes who have double below-the-knee or a double above-the-knee amputation. These athletes ride a standard bicycle and use a racing chair on the run. There is no ITU equivalent of this division.
- Upper Extremity - This is an athlete who has one arm amputated above or below the elbow, in which they will use prosthesis on the bike. These athletes would be classified TRI-4 in ITU races.
- Visually Impaired - This is for athletes who are legally blind, 20/200 with best-corrected vision, requiring a guide throughout the race. If a guide is needed, they may use a tandem bike and may be tethered during the swim and the run. These athletes would be classified TRI-6 in ITU races.
At the Paralympic Games
For the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, the International Paralympic Committee had a zero classification at the Games policy. This policy was put into place in 2014, with the goal of avoiding last minute changes in classes that would negatively impact athlete training preparations. All competitors needed to be internationally classified with their classification status confirmed prior to the Games, with exceptions to this policy being dealt with on a case by case basis. In case there was a need for classification or reclassification at the Games despite best efforts otherwise, paratriathlon classification was scheduled to take place at Fort Copacabana from September 4-6 for vision impaired competitors, and September 5-6 for eveyone else. For sportspeople with physical or intellectual disabilities going through classification or reclassification in Rio, their in-competition observation event is their first appearance in competition at the Games.
- "Paratriathlon Categories". International Triathlon Union. Retrieved 16 Jan 2013.
- "ITU Paratriathlon Classification Research Group meets in San Diego". Retrieved 16 Jan 2013.
- "Classification History". Bonn, Germany: International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Paratriathlon Categories". Triathlon.org. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
- "What is Classification?". Sydney, Australia: Australian Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
- "Rio 2016 Classification Guide" (PDF). International Paralympic Committee. International Paralympic Committee. March 2016. Retrieved July 22, 2016.