Sport Week: Classification in Para triathlon

Athletes in this sport are grouped into five sport classes. 02 Aug 2016
collage of three photos, one with swimmers in open water, one with two cyclists on a tandem, one with a runner with prosthetic leg
Para triathlon athletes race in three disciplines: 750m of swimming, followed by 20km of cycling and 5km of running.
ⒸGetty Images

In Para triathlon there are four different sport classes for athletes with physical impairment (PT1-4), and a fifth sport class for athletes with vision impairment (PT5).

In one sport class, you can find athletes with different impairment types and severity compete against each other. As a general principle, the impact of impairment on the performance within one class is similar.

To evaluate the impact of impairments on an athlete’s ability to compete in triathlon, classifiers assess all functional body structures through a physical and technical assessment using a point system and a weighing factor for each discipline of the sport (swimming, cycling and running). The total score determines the athlete’s sport class.

PT1 (wheelchair user athletes)

Para triathletes in this class swim, cycle on a handbike and compete in a racing wheelchair for the run section. This class includes athletes with, but not limited to: impairments of muscle power, range of movement, limb deficiency such as unilateral or double leg amputation, spinal cord injuries resulting in paraplegia, or tetraplegia.

PT2-4 (ambulant athletes)

Athletes in this sport class swim, cycle on a conventional bike with or without approved adaptations, and run with or without the use of an approved prosthesis and/or supportive devices. They can fall into three different sport classes. These sport classes include but are not limited to: impairment of muscle power, range of movement, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and athetosis.


This sport class includes athletes with a severe degree of activity limitation such as, but not limited to: unilateral above knee amputees, double below knee amputee, athletes with a significant combined upper, and lower limb muscle power limitation or severe neurological impairment such as congenital hemiplegia and severe cerebral palsy.


This sport class includes athletes with a moderate degree of activity limitation such as athletes with, but not limited to: through-the-shoulder amputation, complete loss of range of motion in one arm, athletes with a moderate combined upper, and lower limb loss of muscle power, or moderate neurological impairments.


This sport class includes athletes with a mild degree of activity limitation such as athletes with, but not limited to: below-the-elbow arm amputation, below-the-knee amputation, partial loss of arm muscle power, lower limb deficiency, or mild neurological impairments such as ataxia or athetosis.

PT5 (athletes with visual impairment)

Para triathletes in this sport class swim, ride a tandem cycle and run with a guide.

Eligible impairments for Para triathlon:

Impaired muscle power


Impaired passive range of movement


Limb deficiency


Visual impairment

Helpful links:

IPC classification webpage

International Triathlon Union classification webpage

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