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Paratriathlon Officially Added to Program for 2016 Paralympic Games
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) today announced that the sport of paratriathlon will officially make its debut at the Paralympic Summer Games in 2016 in Rio De Janeiro. The announcement came following a vote by the IPC Governing Board in Guangzhou, China, prior to the Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Asian Para Games.
Paratriathlon was one of two sports selected from a group of seven nominated sports, including badminton, canoe, golf, powerchair football, taekwondo and Intellectual Disability (ID) basketball. With the IPC's announcement to add paratriathlon, as well as paracanoe, the program for the Rio Paralympics now includes 22 sports. The 2016 Paralympic Games will take place Sept. 7-18, 2016.
The official announcement is available on the IPC website.
"We are tremendously excited to learn that paratriathlon has been officially added to the program for the 2016 Paralympic Games, and I would like to thank the International Paralympic Committee for such a strong vote of confidence," said Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Acting CEO. "This represents a well-deserved acknowledgement of the sport's growth and relevance on a global scale. Our athletes, and the organization as a whole, have worked toward this goal for a number of years and we look forward to the challenge of maintaining the highest levels of international performance in Rio de Janeiro."
"The USA Paratriathlon Committee is thrilled to see that Paratriathlon will be included in the Paralympic program for 2016 in Rio," said Jon Beeson, USA Paratriathlon Committee Chair. "It's been a long journey since 1999, when USA Triathlon created the sport's first-ever governance for the benefit of disabled athletes. Considerable credit goes to USA Triathlon and its Board of Directors, the ITU and, of course, the IPC. But, most importantly, thanks to all the athletes - past and present - who sacrificed countless hours training, competing and representing the sport."
There are over 750 active disabled triathletes from over 40 countries, according to the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Paratriathlon Committee. At this past September's ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, 20 U.S. athletes were part of the largest paratriathlon event in history, with 85 athletes representing 15 nations. The sprint-distance event featured a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike and a 5-kilometer run. U.S. athletes captured eight medals.
"On a personal level it would be a wonderful opportunity to get a second chance to bring home a medal," said Sarah Reinertsen, a Paralympian in track and field and the first female below-knee amputee to complete the Ironman World Championship. "But the bigger picture is that this will provide a wonderful opportunity for triathletes with disabilities."
The 2010 Accenture USA Paratriathlon National Championship, held in New York City, boasted a record field with 70 athletes. In 2009, the event featured 53 paratriathletes, which was then a worldwide record.
Paratriathlon mirrors the sport of triathlon, which was added to the Olympic program for the 2000 Sydney Games. Since then, triathlon has increasingly gained in popularity in the United States, with USA Triathlon's annual membership growing from 21,341 in 2000 to more than 135,000 as of June 2010.
Paratriathletes compete in one of six different categories of competition as designated by the ITU, the sport's world governing body.
The IPC Governing Board includes 10 Members at Large, President Sir Philip Craven, Vice President Mr. Greg Hartung, Athletes' Representative Mr. Robert Balk and Chief Executive Officer Mr. Xavier Gonzalez.