World Triathlon today announced that world championship age group races scheduled for Edmonton, Canada in August will not take place. The elite event will happen—but travel restrictions were cited as being too difficult to overcome for the 3,000-person age-group field.
The World Triathlon executive board approved these changes Thursday night:
- canceling the age-group events at the World Triathlon Championship Finals in Edmonton Aug. 17-22
- canceling the World Triathlon Championship Series race in Hamburg, Germany, scheduled for July
- adjusting the World Multisport Championships in Almere, the Netherlands, to only include a long-distance triathlon and aquabike championship race on Sept. 12
As of right now, the long-distance duathlon world championships in Zofingen, Switzerland and the sprint and relay world championships in Bermuda are still moving forward as planned.
Organizers are looking to move the Hamburg race to a later date in the calendar, but the bigger logistical issue will be the question of moving the age-group world championship races from Canada to another location.
The press release from World Triathlon cited the restrictions around traveling as being the primary issue for the thousands of age-group athletes who were expected in Edmonton. The fact that Canada continues to limit travel from foreign nationals would “make it impossible for most of the age-group athletes to travel to Canada this summer,” officials said. Canada, currently, is limiting travel (regardless of vaccine status) to Canadian nationals, permanent residents, family of Canadian citizens, and those with specific exemptions for things like international pro single-sport events. Exemptions are expected to be granted to the elite and elite U23 athletes—and those races will continue as planned.
World Triathlon officials said they are looking to secure an alternate location for the age-group races later in the year, but did not currently have details.
Every country is dealing with their qualified age-group athletes differently. American age-group athletes who had qualified for the World Championship race in Edmonton, which included the standard Olympic-distance, super sprint triathlon, and aquabike world championships, received an email from USA Triathlon noting that if an alternative location is NOT found, then deferrals and qualification will work like so:
- athletes who have claimed a spot for Team USA for 2021 in Edmonton will automatically be qualified for 2022 in Abu Dhabi—if you hadn’t claimed a spot for 2021, you can’t retroactively try to claim it for 2022 now
- no additional deposit needed, but you will have to pay your race entry by Dec. 31, 2021
- all athletes who qualify for Abu Dhabi in 2022 at the remaining qualifying races this year—ie. the Age-Group National Championship race in Milwaukee in August—will have a specific window to claim their spot and pay their entry fee
- if there are spots left (up to two) in an age group, they will be awarded via the annual rankings
- no 2022 events will qualify athletes for Abu Dhabi (because there won’t be enough spots left); 2022 national championships will qualify athletes for 2023 world championships
- you will need to purchase a new 2022 Team USA kit in order to compete in the 2022 world championship race in Abu Dhabi (details coming)
Of course, if an alternate location to Edmonton is found for the 2021 Age Group World Championship races, then all of this is moot and more adjustments will be made at that time. USAT officials noted they would relay details and communicate them as soon as they were available.
Similarly, the two-week World Triathlon Multisport Festival planned in Almere will now be limited to just four days. Athletes who qualified for and planned to complete in the long-distance triathlon and aquabike championships will still be able to race in those events—contingent on meeting the Netherlands travel requirements. But all other events have been canceled. Athletes who were qualified in the canceled events will receive a similar email with similar deferral specifications.