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World Triathlon re-opens Olympic and Paralympic qualifying on May 1

Olympic qualification open until June 21, Paralympic to July 15

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Triathletes and Para triathletes will have their chance to qualify for the Games in Tokyo this summer starting on May 1, according to World Triathlon. The Olympic qualification period will stay open until Jun 21, while the Paralympic qualification period will go until July 15. The Olympic standings were frozen last March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Asia Championships will also be counted towards qualification, even though they will take place before May 1.

Related: Officials and experts on the Olympics this summer

There will be six events that athletes will be able to compete in during the qualification period – World Triathlon Championship Series Yokohama and Leeds and World Triathlon Cups in Osaka, Lisbon, Arzachena and Huatulco. There will also be Continental Championships and Mixed Relay Olympic Qualification events during the qualification window.

Para athletes will have the opportunity to compete in at least four events including World Triathlon Para Series and World Triathlon Para Cups, along with Continental Championship events.

Qualifying process

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.

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.

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’s the “Mixed Relay Qualifications Events” referred to above.)

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.