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Paratriathlon is a variant of the triathlon for athletes with a physical disability. The sport is governed by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), and was first held as a Paralympic event at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1][2]

The annual ITU Triathlon World Championships includes a paratriathlon sprint distance event with a 750 m swim, 20 km cycling using handcycles, bicycles or tandem bicycles with a guide and a 5 km wheelchair or running race. Athletes compete in six categories according to the nature of their physical impairments.[3]

Paratriathlon at the Summer Paralympics will be a sprint race consisting of 750 m swimming, 20 km cycling and 5 km running stages.[4]


As of October 2013 there are seven classes:[5]

  • TRI-1 – Wheelchair user. Paraplegic, quadriplegic and other impairments that preclude use of a leg-pedalled bicycle. Use a handcycle on the cycling stage and a racing wheelchair on the running stage.
  • TRI-2 – Severe leg impairment which includes above knee amputation. Use a conventional bicycle and run with above-knee prosthesis or using crutches.
  • TRI-3 – Les Autres, including athletes with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, double leg amputation or paralysis in multiple limbs. Use a conventional bicycle or a tricycle and run with leg braces or prosthesis.
  • TRI-4 – Arm impairments, including paralysis, amputation or other impairment in one or both arms. Use a conventional bicycle and may use braces, prosthesis or slings on the cycling and/or running stage.
  • TRI-5 – Moderate leg impairment, including below knee amputation. Use a conventional bicycle and may run with brace or 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 sex and uses a tandem bicycle.
  • TRI-6b – Visual impairment, acuity of less than 6/60 or field of less than 40 degrees with correction. Competes with a guide of the same sex and uses a tandem bicycle.

In January 2014, athletes began to be functionally classified according to a points system in sitting, standing, or visually impaired classes.[6][7] As of March 2014, athletes are still racing in TRI-1 to TRI-6 classifications.


  1. ^ "Paratriathlon added to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games | – International Triathlon Union". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  2. ^ "Para-Triathlon | IPC". Retrieved 2012-07-13. 
  3. ^ "Paratriathlon – – The Official Triathlon Resource". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  4. ^ "Para-Triathlon | IPC". Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  5. ^ "Paratriathlon – Categories". 2013-05-20. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  6. ^ "Paratriathletes out in force at Penrith as Rio call looms for 2016". Triathlon Australia. 
  7. ^ "ITU Competition Rules" (PDF). International Triathlon Union. p. 49-50.