Norway and Netherlands grab Olympic Mixed Team Relay tickets at decisive race Huatulco

The Norwegians are going to Paris (Picture: World Triathlon)

It was a race that went every which way and where almost everything happened, but in the end Norway and The Netherlands secured tickets for the Olympic Mixed Team Relay race in Paris by finishing first and second at the last qualifying event in Huatulco, Mexico.

In the first heat, the first serious differences were already emerging, but the most shocking was the hard crash of South African Jamie Riddle. He thus pulled out of the race early on and with that one of the favorite countries lost sight of qualification. The Netherlands, Canada and Norway, meanwhile, had gone off in threes and also stayed together during the first heat.

In the second heat, The Netherlands then lost the connection with the leading group, but it also appeared that Canada would be disqualified. For Norway it meant a great position, as The Netherlands lost almost a minute and in turn also saw countries like Hungary, Spain and Austria getting closer.

In the third heat, Norway and Canada – which did complete the race despite their DSQ – were back together and The Netherlands remained at about one minute. Then, however, what was already expected in the second heat happened: just before the end of heat three, Hungary, Austria and Spain closed in on The Netherlands, so this foursome was fully in contention for second place. Finally, with more than a minute lead going into the fourth heat, Norway already seemed certain of victory.

Indeed, they took the win in a time of 1:20:09. At the same time, Hungary seemed to be heading for second place, but it was The Netherlands that still passed in the final meters, securing a ticket to the Paris Olympics in a time of 1:21:04. Hungary finished third twelve seconds later and missed out on a coveted ticket.