The inaugural paratriathlon men’s champions were crowned Saturday at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games.
Jetze Plat of the Netherlands won the PT1 category, Andrew Lewis of Great Britain won PT2, and Martin Schulz of Germany won PT4 at the sprint distance competition at the famed Copacabana Beach. Seven nations from three continents were represented on three podiums.
PT4 – mild impairment
Schulz won the first Paralympic paratriathlon gold with a dominant victory in the PT4 sport class.
Schulz finished the swim 4th with a 52 seconds deficit to swim leader George Peasgood of Great Britain then surged to the lead with a PT4 race-best 32:33 for the 20 kilometer bike segment that gave him a big lead at T2. While he cruised the 5k run segment in a race wheelchair in the 5th-best 17:53 split, it was good enough to finish in 1:02:37 with a 28 seconds margin over runner-up Stefan Daniel of Canada (race-best 16:15 run) and 37 seconds ahead of bronze medalist Jairo Ruiz Lopez of Spain (17:02 run). Chris Hammer of the U.S. closed with a 2nd-best 16:36 run segment to finish 4th, 1:06 behind the winner.
“It is amazing,” Schulz told ITU Media. “I just realized that today I win the gold medal and then the first paratri (Paralympic race) here at Copacabana. It is a high part of my career – what I have worked for over the last few years and I am very happy.”
“I’m disappointed in the place, but I’m not disappointed in the race,” said Hammer. “I went as hard as I could on the day, and my competitors just had awesome races, so congrats to them. There are no regrets. That’s all you can do, is just give it your all, and I did.”
PT2 – severe impairment
Andy Lewis of Great Britain won gold in the PT2 category with a big come-from-behind finish over runner-up Michele Ferrarin of Italy and bronze medalist Mohamed Lahna of Morocco.
Mark Barr of the U.S. led the swim in 10:04 which gave him a lead of 41 seconds over Brant Garvey of Australia and 53 seconds over Lewis. Barr’s slow transition let Garvey pass to lead the competitors out on the bike. Michele Ferrarin shot to the front, turning his 1:28 deficit after the swim into a lead two laps into the bike, and he maintained his advantage into T2. Lewis pushed hard to maintain 4th place with a minute deficit.
Ferrarin held the lead halfway through the 5k run segment but surrendered to the hard charging Lewis in the final kilometer, who closed with a 2nd-fastest 20:47 run split to finish in 1:11:49, with a 42 seconds margin of victory over Ferrarin and 46 seconds over Mohamed Lahna of Morocco.
Barr finished 4th, 16 seconds out of the medals.
“It meant a whole lot to be able to represent the U.S. and to be the only amputee on the men’s side was a huge honor, and an honor I don’t take lightly,” Barr told USA Triathlon media. ”It was fast. The entire way people were putting up best times, and it was exactly what you’d expect the Paralympics to be, just everyone giving 110 percent.”
PT1 – wheelchair
Jetze Plat of Netherlands led from start to finish with the most dominant performance of the day.
Plat swam 10:24 which gave him a 57 seconds lead on Bill Chaffey of Australia and 84 seconds-plus on Geert Schipper of Netherlands, Giovanni Achenza of Italy, and Krige Schabort of the U.S.
Plat continued his domination with a race-best 34:16 bike split which was 1:07 better than Achenza and 1:10 better than Schipper. Starting the 5k wheelchair run with a 2:35 lead on Schipper and Achenza, Plat finished with a 6th-best 12:36 run which brought him to the finish in 59:31, with a 2:01 margin of victory over Schipper (11:56 run) and 2:16 over 3rd-place Achenza (2:14 run).
“It is historic, because it is the first time that paratriathlon has been in the Paralympics,” Plat told ITU media. “And after three times being the European Champion and one time being the World Champion I am just very happy and proud of this performance. It was a perfect day.”
Krige Schabort of the U.S. finished 5th, 14 seconds behind 4th place finisher Bill Chaffey of Australia. “My strategy was to be out of the swim as far as I could to the front of the main pack,” Schabort told USA Triathlon media. “I enjoyed the swim the most — it was almost the best part for me. It was choppy but I still enjoyed it. On the bike I was digging deep, but the other guys, you know, they’re just faster.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
September 10, 2016
S 750m / B 20k / R5k
1. Jetze Plat (NED) 59:31
2. Geert Schipper (NED) 1:01:30
3. Giovanni Achenza (ITA) 1:01:45
4. Bill Chaffey (AUS) 1:03:01
5. Krige Schabort (USA) 1:03:15
1. Andrew Lewis (GBR) 1:11:49
2. Michele Ferrarin (ITA) 1:12:30
3. Mohamad Lahna (MAR) 1:12:35
4. Mark Barr (USA) 1:12:51
5. Stephane Bahier (FRA) 1:13:30
1. Martin Schultz (GER) 1:02:37
2. Stefan Daniel (CAN) 1:03:05
3. Jairo Ruiz Lopez (ESP) 1:03:14
4. Chris Hammer (USA) 1:03:43
5. Yannick Bourseaux (FRA) 1:04:54