An inspirational new format of the sport – Team Triathlon – will be introduced on Thursday at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games taking place now in Singapore. It marks the first time that the format has been part of global multi-sport competitions. Sixty-four young triathletes from five continents, all of whom have already competed in the individual triathlon event at YOG, will make up the 16 teams vying for the first-ever Youth Olympic Games Triathlon Relay gold medal.
Teams have been comprised of two women and two men from each continent, according to the athletes’ finishing positions in the individual events held on last Sunday and Monday. Each of the four participants in the relay will complete a super-sprint triathlon (250-metre swim, 7km bike, 1.7km run) before tagging a team member to begin the next leg. (Click here to download full Start List.)
The International Triathlon Union is passionate about having Team Triathlon added to the Olympic programme, as the format appeals tremendously to youth. With a number of lead changes, plenty of unpredictable drama and the displaying of team pride, the discipline develops the sport among new generations and new audiences. Additionally, the mixed relay format represents ITU’s commitment to promoting gender equality in sport, showcasing that men and women can practice the sport together on the same field of play.
The men’s Youth Olympic champion, Aaron Barclay (NZL), will be the anchor leg on Team Oceania 1, joined by women’s silver medallist Ellie Salthouse (AUS), Michael Gosman (AUS) and Maddie Dillon (NZL). They’ll be challenged by Team Americas 1, which includes women’s bronze medallist Kelly Whitley (USA), men’s silver medallist Kevin McDowell (USA), Adriana Barraza (MEX) and Lautaro Diaz (ARG). Canada’s Christine Ridenour will compete on Team Americas 2.
While the teams from the Americas and Oceania have plenty of star power, Team Europe 1 clocked the best total time in the individual races, finishing 32 seconds better than the Americas and 63 seconds up on Team Oceania. Men’s bronze medallist Alois Knabl (AUT) headlines the strong European squad, and will be joined by Eszter Dudas (HUN), Fanny Beisaron (ISR) and Miguel Valente Fernandes (POR).
The women’s individual winner, Yuka Sato (JPN), leads Team Asia 1 alongside Ji Hong Lee (KOR), Wai Sum Vincci Hui (HKG) and Ru Cheng (CHN). While Sato is undoubtedly one of the strongest runners in the field, she’ll need a strong showing from her teammates to compete with the other strong continental squads.
The race starts at Thursday August 19 at 9 a.m. at Singapore’s most popular beach, East Coast Park. Singapore is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so the race will actually take place on Wednesday August 18 at 9 pm EST.