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Olympic and Paralympic qualification won’t re-start before May 1

Based on the current rankings, Canada has only guaranteed one spot for the men's and women's races in Tokyo

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

World Triathlon says that the Olympic and Paralympic qualification process won’t resume until at least May 1, with a final decision on the qualification process to be made on March 18. The Olympic qualification standings were frozen last March – the events that took place at the end of 2020 were not counted for Olympic or Paralympic rankings. A total of 110 athletes are supposed to compete in the three triathlon events at the Olympics – men’s and women’s individual races, and the Mixed Team Relay.

Qualifying process

In terms of qualifying, each country can qualify a maximum of three athletes per gender. Those spots can be secured through either individual rankings or the relay rankings. Of the 55 spots for men and women, 51 are determined by the rankings. (Two spots go to the host country, Japan, and two others are set aside as invitations for developing nations.) Of those 51 spots, 26 are determined by individual rankings – the top 26 athletes secure a spot for their country. (The national governing body decides who will compete – a ranking doesn’t automatically qualify an athlete.) From there on in the process becomes complicated – the next five spots are given to the highest ranked country without an athlete in the top 26, with one spot available for each continent.

OK – if you’re still with me, let’s talk relay. The top seven teams in the relay standings are given two spots – one male, one female. The remaining six spots will be decided in a race where any country that hasn’t qualified a relay team can compete, with the top three teams earning a spot at the Olympics. That event was supposed to take place in Chengdu, China last year and was then moved to Valencia, Spain, which was eventually cancelled.

Related: Experts weigh in on the Tokyo Olympics

In terms of the relay rankings, Canada currently sits in 11th place – France, Australia and the US lead the way. The men’s Olympic rankings are led by Mario Mola, with Canada’s Tyler Mislawchuk currently in fifth. Matthew Sharpe sits at 41st in the standings, the only other Canadian in the top 50 of the ranking. Katie Zaferes leads the women’s rankings with Canada’s Joanna Brown in 22nd, the only Canadian in the top 50.

2021 season calendar

In a meeting yesterday, the World Triathlon executive board reviewed the planned calendar for the 2021 season. The World Triathlon Cup Miyazaki that was scheduled for March 20 has been cancelled by the Japanese Triathlon Union and local organizers “due to the current travel restrictions in the region.”

Canada has two events on the World Triathlon Championship Series – Montreal is scheduled for June 24 to 27, while Edmonton is to host the World Triathlon Championship Finals from Aug. 17 to 22.