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.
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.
- 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. As of March 2014[update], athletes are still racing in TRI-1 to TRI-6 classifications.
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- "ITU Competition Rules" (PDF). International Triathlon Union. p. 49-50.