Paratriathlon Information


Triathlon is unique in the fact that it is a multidisciplinary endurance sport which offers an inclusive opportunity for Para athletes to compete in.


The sport is rare because it is designed to embrace as many athletes as possible, with it allowing able-bodied athletes to compete, side by side, with Para athletes, right from entry level right through to Ironman and Elite.


The inclusion of Para triathlon in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games has seen the sports rise in popularity and Triathlon New Zealand are committed to helping support opportunities for disabled people at all levels to partake in the sport of Para triathlon.


Individuals wishing to compete in Paratriathlon should speak with an affiliated club or coach for expert advice.


For some detailed information in regards to Paratriathlon in New Zealand please see our Inclusion Information document HERE.

Getting Started in Triathlon

  • Race clothing – Top brands such as 2XU garments are designed specifically for Triathlon and other multi-disciplined sports. They will provide additional comfort and will have specific benefits such as high UV protection and moisture management due to their fabric and construction
  • Road Bike – there are many key benefits of a road bike, but its main purpose is to be faster on the road than a mountain bike. Your local bike shop will be able to provide you with information on a bike that is specific for your needs. They will also be able to help with making some adaptations to your bike for your requirements. Visit Trikes NZ for custom-made options.
  • Cycling Shoes – these enable you to maximise your cycling pedalling stroke because you can pull up as well as push down with each revolution of your pedals.
  • Race wheels – the type of wheels you ride makes a big difference to your overall bike time. On a flat course, you may choose to ride an enclosed wheel or disc, on a hilly course having light wheels will help you maximise your power and speed getting up the hills. Please be aware that in high winds a technical official can rule that deep rims and disc wheels are banned for safety, so it is a good idea to be prepared for this situation.
  • Wetsuit – this will help you to swim faster because of the additional buoyancy that it provides. In cold water, it will also enable you to stay warmer for longer.
  • Running shoes – make sure you go to your local store to get a gait analysis to ensure that you are well supported in your running shoes. Triathlon New Zealand recommends ASICS.
  • A high-quality mountain bike – for use during off-road events such as the NZ Cross Tri Championships.


Hire Equipment

Blind Sport NZ and the Blind Foundation have tandem bikes that can be hired for a nominal price.


Adaptive Equipment

Paralympics NZ and Halberg have a range of contacts and information on adaptive devices and modifications that can be made by local engineers in consultation with the athlete and coach.



Contact Paralympics NZ for more information.

Depending on the classification and the impairment, Para athletes may require specialized equipment to partake in Para triathlon. For general rules regarding equipment please see Section 17 (Specifically 17.10 through to 17.16)

Hire bikes and specialized cycles can be found at such organisations and businesses as, Trikes NZ, Blind Sport NZ.

If adaptive equipment or prosthetics are needed please contact Paralympics NZ for more information.

Cycling equipment points:

  • Bikes used within Para triathlon are bicycles, tandems or handcycles.
  • All bikes shall be propelled by human force. Arms OR legs can be used to propel the cycle but not both, otherwise my result in disqualification
  • For complete bike specifications see ITU Competitions Rules Section 5.2

All Triathlon NZ endorsed events will endeavour to work with athletes and event providers to enable participation where we can.

Entering these events:

Please enter online through the online entry process & contact the event provider to confirm your entry into the para athlete category.

Please contact Triathlon NZ if you are interested in and we will work with you to make it happen.


Wheelchair users. Para athletes must use a recumbent handcycle on the bike course and a racing wheelchair on the run segment. There are two sub-classes, H1 (most impaired) and H2 (least impaired)

Severe impairments. In both bike and run segments, amputee Para athletes may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices

Significant impairments. In both bike and run segments, the Para athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices

Moderate impairments. In both bike and run segments, the Para athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices

Mild Impairments. In both bike and run segments, the Para athlete may use approved prosthesis or other supportive devices;

Total or Partial Visual Impairment (IBSA/IPC defined sub-classes B1, B2, and B3): Includes Para athletes who are totally blind, from no light perception in either eye, to some light perception (B1) and partially sighted Para athletes (B2, B3). One guide is mandatory throughout the race. Must ride a tandem during the bike segment.

Paratriathlon Pathway


For athletes who are new to para triathlon and would like a taster in our sport Triathlon NZ advise that athletes only enter races which are accredited with Triathlon NZ. Engaging with local Triathlon NZ Affiliated Clubs and/ or Accredited Coaches is advised to ensure you have the best experience possible in our sport.

Not all triathlon courses are safe for para athletes. For this reason, we recommend athletes enter listed Paratriathlon inclusive events. An alternative option is contacting local event delivery partner before entering any races. This allows both parties to discuss the respective race’s course and whether this will be suitable for racing given the athletes impairment. If the event provider or athlete is unsure whether this event a suitable match for the para-athlete please contact If suitable, it means we will also be able to add this race to our paratriathlon inclusive event database!

Athletes competing in Local New Zealand Events do not require classification, however we do recommend the athlete seek provisional classification to streamline future competition experiences in our sport. To receive a provisional classification the athlete should email ideally at least 4 weeks prior to the respective race.

Ready for a challenge and to compete against other Para Triathletes? Each year Triathlon NZ announces a Para triathlon National Championships. The National Championships offers a course compatible with all athlete impairments and offers a competitive edge.

Para athletes competing at a Triathlon NZ National Championship Event require at a minimum of a Provisional Classification. To receive a provisional classification the athlete should email ideally at least 4 weeks prior to the National Championship race.


  • The Athlete should be a member (either Annual or One day) of Triathlon NZ.
  • The Athlete is responsible for entering the event through the Event Entry process.

Competition opportunities beyond NZ are available through the Para-Elite ITU pathway. These events are:

  • World Triathlon Continental Cups
  • World Triathlon Cups
  • World Triathlon Paratriathlon Series
  • World Triathlon Championships

For more information on these events and the process to enable participation please click here.

The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games will be held from 28 August – 8 September 2024.


All Athletes interested in the Paris 2024 Paralympics Games should view the PNZ Selection Regulation and note the key dates below-  specific to Triathlon. For more information on Paratriathlon qualification head to the Paralympics NZ website and also check Nomination Criteria – Schedule R – Triathlon New Zealand.


*Key Dates; 

  • Application Date  – TBA
  • Nomination Date  – TBA


*Subject to change, as at October 13, 2021


National Competition

In 2014 ITU Paratriathlon implemented an evidence-based classification system to group impairments into sport classes according to the extent of activity limitation they cause the Para athlete when performing in the sport of Para triathlon.


Athletes that wish to compete in the NZ Paratriathlon Championships must either have a preliminary, national or international classification.


To obtain a preliminary classification an athlete must submit to the Paralympics Classification Manager a completed provisional classification from (completed by their physician), no later than 30 days prior to the event*, so that eligibility can be ratified and the most appropriate class allocated.

*This year we will allow up to 7 days prior to the Suzuki Paratriathlon Championships in November.


Provisional Classification forms can be found on the Paralympics Classification page here.

Please note there is one form for physical impairment and one for visual impairment.

International Competition

For those athletes wishing to compete internationally, they will require an International Classification which is available at many of the World Triathlon events around the world.

These events are posted on the World Triathlon website from November/December.


The Paratriathlon Classification Rules can be found on the World Triathlon website here.


For detailed classification information please see Classification Information section in the below document:

Athlete Profiles

Name, Age and Location
Sharon (Shaz) Dagg , 55 years old, Feilding


Coach, Guide & Club
Coach: Sam Manson

Club: Hawkes Bay Triathlon Club.





Shaz Dagg had competed in various triathlons as an Age Group athlete, and represented New Zealand at the ITU World Duathlon Championships in Spain 2014, she continued to challenge herself and raced in various half Ironman’s and also race the full Ironman distance. In September 2016 Shaz had an accident at work severely crushing her left arm, after many attempts to gain mobility and functionality it was decided that to eliminate the pain, an above elbow amputation was required. Shaz had her left arm amputated in February 2018, and then went on to qualify as the first NZ Para-Elite triathlete at the world champs later that year on the Gold-Coast.

Shaz has now had three amputations all up with the last one two months before competing in the Coast2Coast in February 2021 becoming NZs first female amputee to not only compete but complete the event.

Shaz has traveled the world gaining ranking points to qualify for this year’s Paralympics, including racing in Tokyo, Australia and Switzerland.  so then decided to tackle Coast to Coast this year becoming NZs first female amputee to not only compete but complete.

Coming back to triathlon in 2021, alongside competing in Coast2Coast 2022, hoping to encourage young new participants into paratriathlon.

Introduction to Triathlon
It was a new challenge after many years cycling and running.


Favorite event is to compete in
Tauranga Tinman, Tokyo, Spain, Coast2Coast and the Rotorua Suffer event.


What you love about our sport/ favorite memory
Riding has always been a huge part of my life which has seen me travel to some amazing places and meeting amazing people. Since becoming NZ’s 1st Female Elite Para-triathlete I have had some incredible experiences and opportunities. This includes an incredible community and its families and competitors I have been fortunate to meet from all over the world from racing internationally.

I look forward to now introducing some new young para members into our sport and helping giving them the opportunities that I have had.

Name: Fiona Southorn
Age: 53 years young
Home town: Ruakaka, Northland
Coach: Self coached
Club: Whangarei Triathlon Club

How did you get into Triathlon?
I was looking for something new to try that would keep me fit after supposedly retiring from track cycling.

I started to run for fitness and by default did the Duathlon champs cause a friend was going and discovered i did quite well.

I then learn’t to swim but it’s not my thing, i have a fear of not touching the bottom.

Favourite  Memory?
My fav memory was being at the duathlon Worlds in Adelaide as my first event and all the supportive Kiwi and Tri NZ staff out there in the hot sun supporting me. With all my years in Para i have not seen this amount of support and excitement, it was truely amazing.


A little more about Fiona
Fiona is a successful self-employed business and sportswoman, a dedicated community volunteer and motivated elite athlete who continues to compete as an able-bodied and disabled athlete. She has a disability where her left arm is slightly shorter than her right and she has no fingers on her left hand.


Since 2002 she has competed successfully on a National and International level.  Her sporting achievements are outstanding (see below).  Most recent was her National success, with three Gold & four Bronze medals at the 2017 NZ Masters World games against able-body athletes.  Fiona represented New Zealand in three Paralympic Games (equivalent of the Olympic Games).  She was invited to represent New Zealand for Athens – 2004, Beijing – 2008, London – 2012 & Rio 2016).  In London, Fiona won a Bronze medal.


In 2004, Fiona was invited by SPARC (now HPSNZ – High Performance Sport New Zealand), to be a Sports Ambassador requiring numerous speaking engagements and visits to schools through-out the country, as well as spending time with young athletes, to help them achieve their goals in sport. She was in this role for nine years, and continues to visit schools as a volunteer and enjoys motivating people of all ages and abilities.


Fiona has been nominated for the prestigious Halberg Awards, three times for the Attitude awards, won a Sport NZ academy award and numerous regional, Paralympic, and Masters awards.


For the past three years, from 2014-2017, Fiona has used her talent to ride from Wellington to Auckland as part of the BDO Corporate (International Accountancy Firm) annual fundraiser, raising between $15,000.00 to $20,000 each year for various community charities.

In 2018 Fiona received a Queens service award for her contribution to Sport which she received at Government house with family and friends.

If you love competing in Triathlon, Duathlon, Aquathlon, Aquabike and/or other Triathlon related disciplines let us know!


We’d love to add you to our profile.