This year’s Americas Triathlon Para Championships, an event that will offer competitors the opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020, in conjunction with the Pleasant Prairie Triathlon in Wisconsin on June 27, it has been announced.
Athletes from North, South and Central America will have the chance to earn qualification points for their country for this summer’s Paralympic Games in Tokyo, while for Americans, the race will also serve as selection event number two for the United States Paralympic team.
The event was initially scheduled for March 15 in Sarasota-Bradenton in Florida, but Americas Triathlon decided to cancel the Championships due to the coronavirus crisis.
Instead, the event in Sarasota was held as a USA Paratriathlon Invitational Race, which held no direct Paralympic rankings or points implications, but served as a discretionary selection event toward Tokyo 2020 qualification for US athletes able to attend.
The opening selection event for American athletes was the 2019 World Paratriathlon Championships in Lausanne in Switzerland.
Strong performances in Pleasant Prairie will be considered by USA Triathlon’s Games Selection Committee as triathlon prepares to make its second in the Paralympic Games, having made its debut at Rio 2016.
Other factors such as performances at 2019, 2020, and 2021 World Triathlon and USA Triathlon-sanctioned events, ranking on the World Triathlon Paralympic Qualification list, head-to-head performances, and relevant and verified training data, will also be considered for Games selection.
The full US Paralympic team for Tokyo 2020 is due to be announced in July.
The US won four Paralympic Games medals in triathlon at Rio 2016, including golds for Allysa Seely in the women's individual PT2 and Grace Norman in the women's individual PT4.
The Pleasant Prairie Triathlon, hosted by Race Day Events, is renowned for hosting national level Paratriathlon competition.
The race has welcomed Paratriathletes from beginners to elites since its inception, and it served as the host of the 2017 and 2018 USA Paratriathlon National Championships.
"Race Day Events is proud to host this key international competition on the road to the Tokyo Paralympic Games," said Ryan Griessmeyer, owner and race director at Race Day Events.
"We look forward to showcasing the world’s top Paratriathlon talent right here in Pleasant Prairie, and we believe our community of spectators, age-group athletes and up-and-coming adaptive athletes will provide unmatched energy and support for these elite competitors."
Held at Prairie Springs Park, the sprint-distance event will feature a 750-metre swim in Lake Andrea, a 20-kilometre bike through Pleasant Prairie and neighbouring Kenosha, and a 5km run course finishing in the park.
"USA Triathlon is thrilled to bring the 2021 Americas Triathlon Para Championships to a scenic and world-class venue in Pleasant Prairie," said Amanda Duke Boulet, Paralympic programme director at USA Triathlon.
"We are grateful to Race Day Events for their collaboration as we prepare to safely and responsibly host athletes from across the US, as well as the rest of North America, and Central and South America.
"This event will be a welcome opportunity for our elite Paratriathletes to demonstrate their fitness and work toward qualification for this summer’s Tokyo Paralympic Games."
All races will be held with stringent COVID-19 safety measures in place, it is promised, including self-screening and temperature checks; face coverings always except when actively racing; contact reduction for athletes, staff and volunteers; and increased cleaning and disinfecting practices onsite.