For the first time ever in the sport, a Para Triathlon Mixed Relay was held on Saturday morning, part of the programme of the World Triathlon Championship Finals in Abu Dhabi, presented by Daman, and a landmark moment for para sport.
This hugely anticipated race debut took place as Yas Island’s stunning Yas Bay Waterfront and the atmosphere and celebrations on the course and at the finish was testament to the sense of something special being created Abu Dhabi.
Debbie Alexander, World Triathlon Vice President and IPC Board Member said: “I have been blown away watching the racing today. The spectators and athletes have loved it and it will be fantastic if we can get this event into the Paralympic Games. We know the huge impact that the mixed relay had in the Olympics, and I am convinced that it will do the same for Para Triathlon. We are making history today and I want to thank everyone involved for continuing to evolve and innovate our sport.”
Mohamed Alhameli, Chairman of the UAE Paralympic Committee and IPC Board Member: “I’m very pleased to be here and to explore new events for these talented athletes. It is the first time the relay has been introduced and I hope it will become part of the official World Triathlon events soon. Thanks to the World Triathlon management and the organising committee and the participating countries. I think it is a product that will be loved – short, exciting and a great look at what these talented athletes can do.”
The showcase event saw 9 teams line up: two from Australia and USA, France, Italy and three World Triathlon mixed nationality teams, and several of the freshly crowned 2022 World Champions were among the athletes making a piece of history.
Each of the four legs involved a one-lap, 150m swim transitioning to a 4.5km bike and 1.2km run. The officials radioed the handovers from the run finish to the pontoon to send the next team member into the water.
The mix of genders and classes made for non-stop action and the inevitable huge variation in transition times for those in handcycles versus bikes, prosthetics and visually impaired made the leads and gaps ebb and flow throughout the 70-minute race.
It may have been a showcase event, but there was no shortage of competitive fire from the athletes as Team Australia II took the tape from Team USA I, and it was bronze for Team USA II.
“To break the tape and take it home in the first race was a huge honour,” said Team Australia II’s Jeremy Peacock. ‘‘It’s such a great opportunity for Para Triathlon. We’ve seen what it has done on the Olympic programme, so hopefully we can do the same for the Paralympic programme now. That was an epic first event and we all would have learned a lot today.”
Organised by Abu Dhabi Sports Council and World Triathlon, the competition strengthens Abu Dhabi’s position as a global sporting destination. Located within 8 hours’ flying time for two-thirds of the world’s population, the emirate is perfectly situated to welcome athletes, media, federations, and spectators alike to the pinnacle of the sport.
For the full result list please click here: