World Para-Triathlon Event season kicks off in Buffalo

The first of the 2016 WPE series takes place in South Africa, where athletes can earn points toward Rio 2016. 18 Mar 2016
Woman crossing a finish line, celebrating
Great Britain's Lauren Steadman won the women’s PT4 category in the 2015 Geneva European Triathlon Union (ETU) Triathlon European Championship
ⒸBritish Triathlon / David Pearce
By Megan Mindel and ITU

With Continental Championships still looming for the European and Asian athletes, it is important athletes clinch crucial Paralympic qualifying points this weekend.

The 2016 International Triathlon Union (ITU) season officially kicks off on Sunday (20 March) with the 2016 Buffalo City ITU World Para-Triathlon Event (WPE).

The race continues the battle to earn qualification points for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where para-triathlon will also officially make its Paralympic debut with the women’s PT2, PT4 and PT5 sport classes, PT1, PT2 and PT4 for men.

With Continental Championships still looming for the European and Asian athletes, it is important athletes clinch crucial Paralympic qualifying points this weekend.


The men’s PT1 will be a battle of national champions in Brazil’s Fernando Aranha, Germany’s Benjamin Lenatz, Spain’s Jose Vicente Arzo Diago and Great Britain’s Phil Hogg.

South African’s Catherine Van Staden is slated for competition in the women’s race.


Italy’s Michele Ferrarin is one to watch in the men’s race. Ferrarin, a two-time world champion (2015 and 2013 World Championships), is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. Potential challengers to keep an eye on include fellow Italian Giovanni Sasso, Great Britain’s Ryan Taylor, and Morocco’s Mohamed Lahna. Sasso finished fourth at this race in 2015. Lahna all but secured his place in Rio this summer when he won the African Continental Championships earlier in March, so he comes into Buffalo City with strong momentum.

French national champion Elise Marc is predicted to lead to the women’s race. Marc will be looking to best Finland’s Liisa Lilja. Lilja finished ahead of Marc at the 2015 World Championships.


A key match-up in the PT3 division will be between South African countrymen Dylan Da Silva and Barend Van Der Walt. Da Silva bested Van Der Walt in this event last year.


The top contender in the men’s PT4 is veteran Yannick Bourseaux. Bourseaux won the title at Buffalo City in 2015 and finished third at the 2015 World Championships. But the likes of Brazil’s Marcelo Collet and the USA’s Jamie Brown will be looking to take that title away from him. Collet is a strong Rio hopeful for the host nation and Brown just placed fourth at the CAMTRI American Championships in Sarasota.

Great Britain’s world No. 1 Lauren Steadman will be looking for her first title of 2016. She will face off against Brazil’s Tamaris Hintz, France’s Gwladys Limos, Hungary’s Petra Levay, and Ukrainians Alona Savchenko and Alias Kolpakchy.


The men’s PT5 race should feature strong competition among France’s Arnaud Grandjean, Spainish athletes Hector Catala Laparra, and Jose Luis Garcia Serrano.

The race to watch in the women’s PT5 division will be between Great Britain teammates Alison Patrick and Melissa Reid. Patrick had an outstanding 2015 season with wins at Besancon, Rio, and Geneva WPEs and the Great Britain Para-Triathlon National Championships. She also finished second at the 2015 World Championships. Reid finished first at the 2015 London World Para-Triathlon Event.

More information on the Buffalo City World Para-Triathlon Event can be found on the ITU’s website.