Paralympic Triathlon qualification: pathways to Paris 2024

Picture: World Triathlon

On 1-2 September 2024, in France’s world-famous capital city, 120 men and women will be hitting the start lines on the Seine River to chase their Paris 2024 Paralympic Triathlon dreams.

The big prizes are the eleven gold medals in total available, with the PTS2, PTS3, PTS4 and PTS5 classes on the Sunday, PTVI and PTWC on the Monday.

For each medal event, the top 9 athletes in the Paralympic Rankings after 1 July 2024 will auto-qualify a slot for Paris 2024, the exception being the women’s PTS4 class, where it will be the top 9 plus the top 5 on the PTS3 ranking and classing-up is possible due to there being no women’s PTS3 medal event.

A further 16 (gender-free) slots then will be filled through the Bipartite Commission Invitations, the recipients of which are decided jointly by the IPC and World Triathlon.

It must also be noted that each qualified place goes to that country, rather than the specific athletes achieving those ranking places, so the final selection of the maximum 2 athletes per medalling event, per NPC, ultimately remains in the hands of the National Paralympic Committees.

The Paralympic Qualification Period began on 1 July 2023 and runs through to the same date in 2024, two months before the big show gets underway. Between now and the cut-off point, there are no fewer than thirteen ranking races at which the athletes can put themselves into contention or confirm their spot, the top three results counting – the coming months are going to be crucial.

Chasing the security of the rankings top 9

With qualification routes rather more straightforward than those of the Olympic Games, and few surprises at the top of the rankings at the turn of the year, among the names looking to get 2024 off to a fast start will be Nic Beveridge H1, currently 11th in the men’s PTWC ranking (topped by USA’s Howie Sanborn H1) but with only two out of three results counting so far unlike all those ahead of him, so one strong result should see him make inroads to the safety of the top 9. A first WTCS win in Yokohama last year will leave Japan’s Jumpei Kimura H1 confident, too, despite a disappointing end to 2023, while successive Para Cup golds in Taranto and A Coruna have catapulted Giuseppe Romele H1 (ITA) up to 7th in the rankings.

After USA’s Kendall Gretsch H2 won that sprint finish against Lauren Parker H1 (AUS) in Tokyo, the women’s PTWC rankings are again full of further medal contenders. Fewer than 40 points separate Netherlands’ Margret IJdema H1, Mexico’s Brenda Osnaya Alvarez H1 and USA’s Skyler Fisher H2 in 9th, 10th and 11th respectively, all three possible to feature in Paris.

PTVI race for places hotting up

In the visually impaired class rankings, a little over 50 points is all that separates Sam Harding B3 (AUS), Donnacha McCarthy B1 (IRL), Paul Lloveras B2 (FRA) and Gerasimos Lignos B3 (GRE) in the 9th-12th positions of the men’s PTVI rankings at the start of 2024. Lazar Filipovic B2 (SRB) stands in 13th currently, chasing a first Games having passed up his place for Tokyo 2020 after an accident left him less than fully fit. Ireland’s Judith Maccombe B3 ended 2023 with back-to-back Para Cup podiums and finds herself in contention despite having only three races in the period to her name.

Among the names to watch in the women’s PTS4 class will be the young American talent Emma Meyers, who claimed her first Para Series win and fourth successive podium in Swansea at the age of just 18 and in her second year of racing. With a first Paralympic qualification looking assured, could a medal even be in reach? Kendra Herber currently sits in 9th spot but is the third American athlete, so WTCS Montreal champion Kenia Yesenia Villalobos Vargas (MEX) will be looking to seize her opportunity to qualify along with Australia’s Sally Pilbeam.

The men’s PTS4 sees the likes of Alejandro Sánchez Palomero (ESP), Jorge Luis Fonseca (BRA) and Jeremy Peacock (AUS) on the hunt for the security of the top 9, experienced names such as Mhlengi Gwala (RSA) and Jiachao Wang (CHN) further down but with just one ranking race to date and ready to start their surge.

All eyes on 1 July prize

Bronze in Long Beach last year saw Britain’s Michael Salisbury closing in on the top 10 of the men’s PTS5, just 25 points behind Australia’s David Bryant, Antoine Besse (FRA) also chasing hard in 12th place. In the women’s PTS5, Cristina Miranda Zambrano (ESP) and Emilie Gral (FRA) will have their eyes on Monika Belczewska (POL) currently in 9th.

Para Cup silver medallists in 2023, Stephane Bahier (FRA) and Adam Popp (USA) will want to consolidate their places inside the men’s PTS2 top 9, while Allysa Seely currently sits 9th and is the third USA female in the women’s PTS2, with new faces likely to be making their debuts on the rankings early in 2024.

Finally, in the men’s PTS3, a mere 10 points separates positions 8-11 in the rankings; Ibrahim Al Hussein (TRI), Diego Lardón Ferrer (ESP), Giovanni Sciaccaluga (ITA) and Michael Herter (FRA) all with a job to do before 1 July if they are to secure their Paris places.

Triathlon Today will report on all the races:

World Triathlon Para Series
15 March – World Triathlon Para Series Devonport (AUS)
11 May – World Triathlon Para Series Yokohama (JPN)
22 June – World Triathlon Para Series Swansea (GBR)
29 June – World Triathlon Para Series Montreal (CAN)

World Triathlon Para Cup
8 March – World Triathlon Para Cup Abu Dhabi (UAE)
21 April – World Triathlon Para Cup Yenisehir (TUR)
18-19 May – World Triathlon Para Cup Samarkand (UZB)
1-2 June – World Triathlon Para Cup Vigo (ESP)
8-9 June – World Triathlon Para Cup Taranto (ITA)
15 June – World Triathlon Para Cup Besancon (FRA)

Continental Championships
4 February – Oceania Triathlon Para Championships Stockton (AUS)
8 March – Americas Triathlon Para Championships Miami (USA)
2 June – Asia Triathlon Para Championships Subic Bay (PHI)

check the points available at each race here