World Triathlon Para Classifications 

World Triathlon has implemented an evidence-based classification system to group impairments into sport classes according to the extent of activity limitation they cause the athlete when performing in the sport of paratriathlon.


The six sport classes are as follows:

*the common cases are not always cut and dry, but just to give you examples*

PTWC - Wheelchair users. Athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment.

Severe Impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.
  • Common - above knee amputees, severe neurological disorders, both arm and leg amputees 

PTS3 – Significant Impairments. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

  • Common - double below knee amputees, cerebral palsy disorders  

PTS4 – Moderate Impairments. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices.

  • Common - below knee amputees, above elbow arm amputees, no use in a full arm  
PTS5 – Mild Impairments. In both bike and run segments, the athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive device.
  • Common - foot amputees, below elbow arm amputees, no use in partial arm, mild neurological disorders
PTVI - Total or Partial visual Impairment (IBSA/IPC defined sub-classes B1, B2, and B3): Includes athletes who are totally blind, from no light perception in either eye, to some light perception (B1) and partially sighted athletes (B2, B3). One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment. 


The recognized types of impairment by World Triathlon are:

Impairment Type
Examples of Health Conditions that may cause such impairment
Impaired muscle power
Spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, brachial plexus injury, Erbs Palsy, polio, spina bifida, Guillian- Bare Syndrome
Impaired passive range of movement
Ankylosis, arthrogryposis, post burns joint contractures. Does not include hypermobility of joints.
Limb Deficiency
Amputation resulting from trauma or congenital limb deficiency (dysmelia)
Hypertonia Cerebral palsy, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis
Ataxia Cerebral palsy, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, Friedrichs ataxia, spincerebellar ataxia
Athetosis Cerebral palsy, stroke, brain injury
Vision Impairment
Myopia, tunnel vision, scotoma, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, macular degeneration, congenital cataract


National Classification System

All athletes who are interested in racing in paratriathlons on 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:

  1. Register for an event where classification is being offered (Para Nationals)
  2. USAT will assign you a specific classification appointment time in advance of this event
  3. See your MD or Opthalmologist and have him/her fill out specific paperwork as it relates to your impairment
  4. Bring these documents and all of your racing equipment to your appointment where you will undergo specific range of motion and muscle power tests
  5. Classifiers will assign you a provisional sport class to race in the event
  6. Classifiers will then observe you in competition during the race
  7. After observation they will confirm your sport class

The following event is offering national classification:

USA Classification Master list

USA Classification Policies and Procedures

Required Classification Forms


World Triathlon Para Classification System

World Triathlon has its own Classification Policies and Procedures that are to be followed at all World Triathlon-sanctioned paratriathlons.

2019 World Triathlon Classification Rules and Regulations Manual

2020 World Triathlon Physical Impairment (PI) Classification Opportunities:

  • Newcastle OTU Paratriathlon Oceania Championships - January 24 & 25 
  • Abu Dhabi Paratriathlon World Cup - March 3 & 4 
  • Sarasota PATCO Paratriathlon Panamerican Championships - March 12 &13

2019 World Triathlon Visual Impairment (VI) Classification Opportunities:

  • Sarasota-Bradenton Paratriathlon World Cup - March 19

Athletes will only be granted a classification appointment when they are added to the start list of the said event.

World Triathlon Required Medical Forms
Physical Impairment Medical Diagnostic Form
Visual Impairment Medical Diagnostic Form

Provisional Classification Form *only needed when attending a race where no panel is scheduled

All required medical forms must be sent here at least six (6) weeks before the World Triathlon competition you wish to compete for the first time.


Additional World Triathlon Classification Forms