USA Triathlon

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General World Triathlon Classifications

As of October, 2020, there are nine sport classes in para triathlon that compete in six medal events: World Triathlon has implemented some modifications to the classification system that was introduced in 2014 after further research was conducted to address certain aspects of the previous system. The research project is an ongoing project for both physical and vision impairments. You can also read about these classifications on triathlon.org.

PTWC1: Most impaired wheelchair users. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment; Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to: muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis.

PTWC2: Least impaired wheelchair users. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycleon the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment; Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to: muscle power, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia or athetosis.

PTS2: Severe impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement.

PTS3: Significant impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement.

PTS4: Moderate impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includesathletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement.

PTS5: Mild impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices. Includes athletes with comparable activity limitation and an impairment of, but not limited to, limb deficiency, hypertonia, ataxia and or athetosis, impaired muscle power or range of movement.

PTVI1: Includes athletes who are totally blind, from no light perception in either eye, to some light perception. One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.

PTVI2: Includes athletes who are more severe partially sighted athletes. One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.

PTVI3: Includes athletes who are less severe partially sighted athletes. One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. A guide from the same nationality and gender is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment

*Both PTWC1 and PTWC2 classes compete in the same PTWC Medal Event. All the ambulant classes (PTS2-PTS5) compete in their own medal event and the three visual impaired classes (PTVI1, PTVI2 and PTVI3) compete into the PTVI medal event.

For more in-depth descriptions about classification please visit the classification page on paralympic.org.

National Paratriathlon Qualifications

All athletes who are interested in racing in paratriathlon at the national level, need to attend an event where classification is being offered. The USA national classification rules and regulations are similar to the World Triathlon Para classification rules in regulations. The idea behind the USA having a national level classification system is so that athletes can first be seen by a USA classification panel and can be placed into the correct sport class (PTWC, PTS2-5, or PTVI). This will help alleviate any stress or uncertainty when you go to compete in World Triathlon level races and will be seen by an international classification panel.

How it works:
  • Register for an event where classification is being offered (ParatriNationals)
  • USAT will assign you a specific classification appointment time in advance of this event
  • See your MD or Ophthalmologist and have him/her fill out specific paperwork as it relates to your impairment
  • Bring these documents and all of your racing equipment to your appointment where you will undergo specific range of motion and muscle power tests
  • Classifiers will assign you a provisional sport class to race in the event
  • Classifiers will then observe you in competition during the race
  • After observation they will confirm your sport class

The following event is offering national classification:

World Triathlon Classification System Documentation