Excitement builds for Paris 2024 after Para triathlon test event

“It just makes you want to be there again in a year's time because it's going to be even more exciting.” 21 Aug 2023
A Para triathlete on a bike cycles past a Parisian monument
Para triathletes have experienced the Paris 2024 Paralympic course for the first time
ⒸParis 2024
By Paris 2024 & IPC

With just over a year to go until the opening of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, Para triathletes from around the world gathered in the French capital to take part in a test event on Saturday, 19 August. 

The event, which took place near the iconic Pont Alexandre III bridge, was changed to a duathlon due to water quality in the Seine. Competitors in the 12 races instead took part in a 2.5km run, followed by an 18.5km bike leg and another 5km run. 

“It was a magical place. It just makes you want to be there again in a year's time because it's going to be even more exciting,” said France’s Alexis Hanquinquant, who won the men’s PTS4 race in front of a home crowd. 

“We're used to two-up podiums, and this time, in front of our home crowd, it was incredible. The course was blue-white-red and that obviously gives you wings.” 

“You can count on me (next year) because I'm going to give it my all and you're going to have to be very strong to fight me,” he added. 

Paris, one year before the Games 

The USA’s Chris Hammer was the first person to cross the finish line in the World Triathlon Para Cup at Pont Alexandre III, winning the men’s PTS5 race.

“It’s fun and it’s beautiful, but it’s a tough bike course,” the three-time Paralympian said. “I’m glad I came out here today to know what to expect for next year.” 

Germany’s two-time Paralympic champion Martin Schulz finished eighth and he is determined to qualify for his third Games. 

“The main focus is of course Paris. I want to win my third Paralympic medal,” he said after the race. “Everybody who knows me, knows that I want to win the gold medal. But it’s a long way with a lot of hard work ahead, and the other guys are not slipping.” 

Schulz said he considers Saturday’s race as an important lesson as he tries to improve ahead of the Games.  

“It motivates me as I hate to lose races, and I want to improve every year.” 

In the men’s PTS4, France’s Hanquinquant showed he is still the man to beat. 

“I’m getting to be one of the older guys, but I haven’t given up yet. I love winning and I’m going to try to make the most of it,” he said. 

Two-time Paralympic triathlon champion Jetze Plat of the Netherlands, who also has two Tokyo 2020 golds in Para cycling, said his race was an important learning exercise for Paris 2024. 

“It was difficult, but in the end it was a really good test,” Plat said.

“Next year I expect crazy, crazy days here in the middle of Paris with a lot of spectators. I’m absolutely looking forward to it.” 

Australia’s Lauren Parker won the women’s PTWC race, beating Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Kendall Gretsch by a large margin. At Tokyo, Gretsch took gold after overtaking Parker in the last metre of the PTWC race. 

“I knew that Kendall is chasing me down on the run because she’s a brilliant runner in the racing chair,” Parker said. “But I really had to focus on what I had to do today and focus on my strengths and put in a really good bike leg, which is my strength and that’s what I did.” 

Test in Paris 

The Paralympic and Olympic triathlon courses take in some of Paris’ most beautiful monuments, such as the Pont Alexandre III, Grand Palais, Invalides and the Champs-Elysées. 

During the five-day event, operational and technical aspects were successfully tested. This included the installation of the temporary pontoon on the Seine, the mobilisation and training of volunteers and the entry of athletes on the field of play, as well as security and transport operations.  

Paris 2024 will continue wastewater connection work and the delivery of new infrastructure for rainwater treatment to further significantly improve water quality.

The test also demonstrated the excellent collaboration between the main stakeholders, including World Triathlon, the City of Paris and Paris 2024.  

The geographical proximity of the Archery World Cup event, which was organised by the French Archery Federation (FFTA) and held at the same time, also made it possible to work on co-activity between the two sites, and in particular on the management of spectator flows and general coordination with the authorities. 

Get ready for Para archery 

At the Esplanade des Invalides, a few hundred metres away from the Para triathlon route, a test event for Para archery and archery took place at the Esplanade des Invalides.  

Paris 2024 tested several operational aspects, including the organisation in the field of play, logistics, transportation and security. In particular, the organisers analysed and observed the impact of the wind on the competition and training fields, how the athletes move between training and competition fields, and the accessibility of the venue, among other things. 

The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games run from 28 August to 8 September and will feature 4,400 Para athletes competing across 549 medal events.