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Nine countries claimed spots on the podiums, including Spain, Great Britain, Austria, Hungary, France, Serbia, Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
A total of 51 Paratriathletes lined up on the sizzling pavement for a sprint in front of massive crowds in Pontevedra, Spain, only a few hours before the elite men’s showdown at the European Championships on Saturday.
Athletes faced grueling conditions with intense heat and almost no breeze to cool them during the 5 km run and 20 km bike ride that followed the 750-meter swim. The determination they demonstrated inspired the crowds, who filled the stadium with loud cheers.
Competition was sometimes tight, as in the men’s events. In the T4 category (arm impairment including paralysis), Peter Boronkay (Hungary) won a thrilling race by a tiny 29 seconds, ahead of Lars Hansen (Germany), earning him a particularly rapturous welcome at the finish.
“Some amazingly talented and fit athletes, who are competing at elite level in Paratriathlon, and who may have any combination and degree of loss of limb, coordination, sight or have a spinal cord injury,” ITU Vice President Sarah Springman said. “Their passion to race hard and give no quarter, and their ability to adapt, are deeply impressive as are some of the technological solutions they adopt to help their athletic performances.”
Read more: International Triathlon Union