The International Triathlon Union’s goal to have Team Triathlon included in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games took a significant step forward after the format was added to the 2014 Incheon Asian Games last week. The Executive Board of the Olympic Council of Asia approved the programme on 13 July at a meeting in Tokyo.
The 4 x mixed, super-sprint distance relay was already introduced at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last year for the first time in a global multi-sport competition. An impressive 64 athletes from 42 nations competed in the team relay.
"The format is so exciting. It’s an intense, fast and unpredictable battle for national pride, with the leaders changing almost every leg," said Marisol Casado, ITU President and IOC Member. "We’re seeing it included in more and more events worldwide, from entry level to elite. Its addition to the Asian Games is a clear indication that audiences find this unique format very thrilling."
"It is our great pleasure and honour to have the discipline in the sport programme of the Asiad," Casado added. "We would like to thank OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and the members of the OCA Executive Board for recognising the value of the discipline."
The Asian Games, considered the second-largest international multi-sport event after the Olympic Games, are set to be held in the northwestern city of South Korea from 14 September to 4 October, 2014. The most recent edition in Guangzhou last year welcomed more than 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions for 476 events in 42 sports. Incheon 2014 will be the 17th edition.
"Team Triathlon’s inclusion into the Asiad is not only a key stepping stone for the ITU’s goal of getting it into the Olympic Games, but will be a catalyst to drive the triathlon movement in Asia because of its tremendous appeal to youth," Casado also noted. "Young talents are now emerging from Asia. We saw many promising young triathletes show their potential at the previous Asiad."
The IOC Executive Board will decide in 2013 whether to include the Team Triathlon event into the Olympic programme for 2016.
The ITU re-vamped the ITU Team Triathlon World Championships in 2006. Previously it was not a mixed event, and three men and three women raced separately. The format was modified in 2009 when it became the mixed relay event, which is more TV-friendly and attractive to youth and spectators. This year’s World Championships will be held on 21 August in the Olympic capital of Lausanne, Switzerland.
"I would like to thank Asian Triathlon Confederation President Kyung-Sun Yu for his leadership and support, which led to the format’s inclusion into the Asiad. Also, my sincere gratitude to the members of ASTC for their dedication to developing the sport in the region," Casado said.
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