Olympics on the line at the Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification event

Diving into the water at the MIxed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. Photo: Kevin Mackinnon

At 12:30 CEST (6:30 AM EST) on Friday 16 teams will compete in a Mixed Relay Qualification event in Lisbon, Portugal in the hunt for the last three spots for the event at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer. The event won’t include the seven countries that have already qualified for Tokyo – France, Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands, USA and Japan.

The teams competing tomorrow will be after a podium finish – the first three teams will nail their tickets to Tokyo, and also guarantee that their countries will be able to send two men and women to the Games (as long as the country has two men and women in the top 140 of the Olympic Ranking). The Professional Triathletes Organisation has also teamed up with World Triathlon to offer an increased prize purse for the race. Each athlete will complete a mini-triathlon consisting of a 300 m swim, 8 km bike and a 2 km run. The teams alternate women and men, with the women starting.

Even though the likes of three-time defending world champions France or Mixed Team Relay powerhouse countries like the USA, Great Britain and Australia won’t be competing, the race is likely to be an exciting one. Norway, Denmark and Belgium, the countries that were fourth, fifth and sixth at last year’s world championships (with only 10 seconds separating them) are among the favorites for the podium, but Spain, Italy and Brazil appear to have strong teams ready to line up as well. Switzerland will be anchored by Olympic gold and silver medalist Nicola Spirig.

You can watch the coverage live on Triathlonlive.TV.