By Erin Greene on 13/05/16 at 12:07 pm
Not only will the elite athletes compete for selection points to Rio in Yokohama, paratriathletes will also line up on two continents this weekend to race for Paralympic qualification points. On Saturday, paratriathletes will compete at the 2016 Yokohama ITU World Paratriathlon Event, while many of their competitors will battle it out in Aguilas, Spain at the 2016 Aguilas ITU World Paratriathlon Event. Here we break down who is racing where and what’s at stake.
Bill Chaffey is one of the most recognizable names on the list, headlining the men’s PT1 sport class in Yokohama. Ranked first in the Paralympic Qualification List, Chaffey is the heavy favourite come Saturday. Japan’s own Jumpei Kimura lines up with hopes of increasing his sixth-place ranking on the list to improve his chances of going to Rio, as will Fernando Aranha (BRA).
While the women’s PT1 sport class is not destined to compete at the Paralympics this cycle, Mary Catherine Callahan will contest the event this weekend in Japan, while Eva María Moral Pedrero will race in Aguilas.
With podium finishes in his last two races, Brant Garvey has jumped three spots in the Paralympic Qualification List. Sitting at fourth, he will toe the line in Yokohama to ensure he stays safe for a Paralympic berth. Meanwhile, over in Aguilas, top-ranked Mark Barr and Michele Ferrarin will duke it out with Great Britain’s Ryan Taylor.
In Yokohama, Allysa Seely, who has already been dubbed for the US Paralympic Team, will compete in her second race of the year alongside Japan’s Yukako Hata. Hata has just jumped into the top 6-ranked athletes after finishing on the podium in her last two races - a placing she needs to maintain. In Aguilas, Melissa Stockwell and Liisa Lilja start as the heavy favourites, but it’s Rakel Mateo Uriarte that needs to pull out a strong race to maintain hopes of heading to Brazil.
While not a sport class that will compete in Rio on the men’s or women’s side, in both Aguilas and Yokohama will see top notch competition. In Yokohama, Edson Dantas lines up with the best results behind him, while over in Aguilas the start list is dominated by Spanish men including reigning World Championship silver medallist Alejandro Sánchez Palomero. In Aguilas, Saskia Van Den Ouden will race the course alone.
The men’s PT4 sport class is the deepest field in Yokohama headed up by the young and swift Stefan Daniel (CAN). Martin Schulz, perhaps his strongest competition from Rio, will race in Aguilas with a slew of talented men. Jairo Ruiz Lopez will be looking for a strong finish to improve his Paralympic ranking.
Undefeated so far this season, Kate Doughty will be looking to add a third win to her name in Yokohama. But with Anna Bychkov perhaps on the cusp of earning a ticket to Brazil, all bets are off on who will cross the line first on Saturday. Over in Aguilas, Chantal Givens will have a strong chance at scoring gold.
Amy Dixon chose Japan as her destination for a shot at the podium, but the real battle will come between Atsuko Yamada, Christine Robbins and Elizabeth Baker, all of whom are fighting to get to the Paralympics. Over in Aguilas, Susana Rodriguez, Melissa Reid and Catherine Walsh will be the three to keep an eye on as potential medal contenders.
Although the men will not race in Rio, Japan has turned out a full list of athletes ready to race in Yokohama, with four of the five entries coming from the host nation. Fresh off a continental championship win, Ryu Nakazawa looks to lead the field. Over in Aguilas, World Championship medallists Alen Kobilica and Łukasz Wietecki will lead the pack.