Para triathlon 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.


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
  • 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.


In 2014 ITU Para triathlon 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 Para triathlon 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 Para triathlon 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.


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

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


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


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

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.