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Battle For Olympic Qualification Explained

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An explanation of the complicated process each country goes through to earn triathlon team spots in the Olympics.

The ITU’s international triathlon circuit, which includes the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, World Cups and Continental Championships, is also the battleground for Olympic qualification. The two-year period, from June 2010 until May 2012, is an intensive journey for athletes, who compete for themselves but also for their respective countries to secure berths for London 2012.

National Federations are striving for the maximum quota of six (three men and three women), while some emerging countries are making a desperate effort to secure at least one spot. Athletes, through the ITU’s events, shoulder the burden to earn precious Olympic qualification points to gain berths for their country, although even if they secure a spot for their nation, it doesn’t mean they’ll get to go themselves. The majority of Olympic slots are decided through the ITU Olympic qualification points list, and final slot allocation won’t be determined until May 2012.

National Federations can also gain spots if one of their athletes wins a continental championship, through a special qualification event in London in August, and through New Flag slots – in which the ITU awards berths to one country per continent, that would otherwise not have a slot.

The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Hamburg last week had some impact on the current simulation table, a list showing the tentative number of spots each country has provisionally earned at this point.

Read more: International Triathlon Union