The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced a Mixed Relay Series on Monday to give athletes more ways to earn qualification points for the mixed relay at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and broaden the sport’s appeal.
The series will officially debut in the English city of Nottingham on June 7, 2018, with the event to form part of the UK’s round of the World Triathlon Series in Leeds.
The Edmonton Mixed Relay Series event will take place in the Canadian city in July, and will offer athletes another chance of earning points for the mixed relay Olympic qualification ranking.
The two events will sandwich the annual Mixed Relay World Championship in the German city of Hamburg, which will also give chances for teams to earn points in the Olympic qualification rankings. All five mixed relay continental championships will also count towards Olympic qualification.
It is hoped the launch of the Mixed Relay Series will drive interest in the discipline ahead of its Olympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Olympic qualification criteria is subject to the approval of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board in February, although the qualification period is expected to run from May 11, 2018 to the same date in 2020. Fifty-five spots will be made available to men and 55 for women.
ITU president Marisol Casado said: “Since we have the mixed relay added to the Olympic Programme, and with the debut in Tokyo 2020 in mind, we want to push all athletes and most of all, all national federations to join us in the Series and vie for one spot which will allow the teams to fight for another Olympic medal.
“The mixed relay is an event that gives the sport something very important: a sense of team building. But most important, is an event that demonstrates that women and men can compete together but both are equally important to the success of the team. And I am sure that all those teams will shine brightly in Nottingham for the debut of the Series.”
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Shekhar Dhingra is a sports journalist with 1.5 years of experience, having worked with sports business website "Market4Sports". He resides in New Delhi and is a die-hard sports fan with special affection for cricket and badminton. He desperately waits for weekend to relax his soul by playing cricket.