Not many would know what to expect when Para triathlon makes its first appearance at a Paralympic Games. But here are some potential storylines to follow in the sport at Rio 2016.
1. Para triathlon’s debut
On 11 December 2010, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced that triathlon would be added to the Paralympic programme for Rio 2016. Now, the wait is up as athletes get ready to compete on the sport’s biggest international stage.
Some have competed in a Paralympics before (e.g. former Paralympic swimmers in Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman and the USA’s Melissa Stockwell). For others, this will be new.
2. Biggest men’s rivalry
One of the most competitive races is predicted to be in the men’s PT4 among Germany’s Martin Schulz, Canada’s Stefan Daniel and France’s Yannick Bourseaux. Bourseaux is the veteran racer, having won two world titles (2011-2012) and runner-up in 2013 and 2016. But Schulz has recently been a dominant force, winning world titles in 2013-2014 and 2016. Daniel is the young up-and-coming racer, who had his breakthrough race at the 2015 World Championship in Chicago, USA, winning gold over Schulz and Bourseaux. All three have had very productive races in 2016 and look to be in top form heading to Rio.
3. Who can overtake Lauren Steadman?
Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman has been the heavy favourite in the women’s PT4 race. However, after an unfortunate performance at the 2016 World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, it could be anyone’s race to take. Steadman had a crash in the cycling portion and did not finish. The USA’s Grace Norman took the opportunity to win her first world title, especially showing her strength in the run, completing the 5km under 20 minutes and showing excellent form for Rio.
4. Jetze Plat pulling Paralympic double-duty
Reigning world and European champion Jetze Plat has been a two-sport athlete for years competing internationally in both Para cycling and Para triathlon. In Para triathlon, where he has been on a steady rise winning three European Championships [2014-2016], and his first world title in 2016. The Dutchman will look for his first medal on 10 September at Copacabana Beach, but he would have to overcome Australia’s Bill Chaffey. Plat then will look for a medal in Para cycling four days later.
5. Under the radar
The recent World Championships in Rotterdam showed that Rio could be anyone’s race. As this will be the first time the sport debuts on the Paralympic stage, not many know what to expect at the finish line. But here are also some athletes to watch for who could surprise:
- Men’s PT1: Geert Schipper (NED); Krige Schabort (USA)
- Men’s PT2: Lahna Mohamed (MAR)
- Men’s PT4: Jairo Ruiz Lopez (ESP)
- Women’s PT2: Elise Marc (FRA); Liisa Lilja (FIN)
- Women’s PT4: Gwladys Lemoussu (FRA); Kate Doughty (AUS)
- Women’s PT5: Melissa Reid (GBR)
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
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