At its recent meeting in Luxor, Egypt, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Executive Board approved some ‘significant changes in the competition rules for the 2019 season’. The changes, which include penalties, appeals, water temperature limits, water quality, eligibilities, changes of nationalities and mixed relay formats, among others, will be applied from January 1, 2019.
“Our Technical Committee along with various other committees and the sport department has worked really hard during this year to adapt our rules to the new circumstances and try to have a safer and fairer field of play ever,” said ITU President and IOC member, Marisol Casado.
Gergely Markus, ITU Sport Director said “Our team has studied all cases and scenarios, especially some affecting rules implemented in the last years, changed things that were obsolete and updated some others in order to guarantee the best conditions for all our athletes and our events.
“We will implement procedures to support even more of our technical delegates all around the world of the growing challenges mainly occurred by environmental conditions. The goal is to make our events even more spectacular and fair for all athletes, and implement new rules and competition possibilities to keep on growing our sport.”
In the 2019 season, athletes or paratriathletes entering the briefing hall after a race briefing has started, or if they have not attended the briefing, but who have informed the technical delegate about their absence, will receive a time penalty to be served in transition 1. This will be instead of, as happened last year, having a delayed start.
Also, athletes missing the briefing due to force majeure who have informed the technical delegate about their absence by the time of the briefing, may file an appeal against the head referee’s decision on the time penalty up to 2 hours before their competition starts.
Athletes may also be penalized or stopped racing if ‘not respecting the check-in times’. ITU adds that this is due to many cases where ‘there are athletes present on the events from the wait lists and hoping for a start slot.’
ITU adds that the procedure of the appeals and protest have been reviewed to improve its application for any type of events and categories. This is so that from 2019 the official results may be modified by the World Triathlon Tribunal as the result of a level 2 appeal, or by CAS as result of a level 3 appeal. This means that athletes serving a penalty may, after they finish a race, appeal against the penalty received and, if considered, the time will be restated, but only by the above aforementioned two bodies.
One of the new rules approved by the ITU Executive Board modifies the temperatures of the water on which the swim segment can still held during super-sprint and mixed relay events.
The new rules also introduce the 2×2 Mixed Relay competition for all types of triathlon, and also introduces relays in aquathlon. Here, a 2×2 team is always composed of two athletes, one man and one woman, who will compete in the following order: woman, man, woman, man. Each will cover a complete aquathlon – as well as a 2×2 triathlon, cross triathlon, duathlon, cross duathlon or winter triathlon.
The Mixed Relay qualification for ITU events is now based on the Mixed Relay World Ranking, and here ITU’s rules were also updated regarding the Team Relay briefing and team composition declaration process.
The ITU Executive Board also approved that athletes may not compete within 24 hours – before it was 36 hours – at the same event in more than one triathlon or multisport competition when one competition is of standard distance or longer. The 24 hours is considered from the start of the race till the start of the other race the following day.
In paratriathlon, the rules updated the interval start values for the PTVI and PTWC classes, and also the use of wetsuits for paratriathletes was changed to water temperatures below 24.6C. The new rules also made some changes in the specifications of handcycles.
The ITU Board also approved updates of the decision-making process related to water quality by introducing a matrix. This takes into consideration water quality results, sanitary inspections and weather forecast to ensure a safe environment for athletes.
The next rule revision is expected in two years at the end of 2020.