Olympic Qualification for Tokyo 2020 begins in WTS Yokohama

WTS Press Release - 09 May 2018

The road to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games officially kicks off this weekend as the 2018 World Triathlon Series Yokohama event begins the two-year Olympic qualification period for triathlon. In the third stop of the Series, elites will battle it out in the second Olympic-distance course of the season with both 2017 WTS Yokohama race winners Flora Duffy (BER) and Mario Mola (ESP) returning to reclaim their crown. Yokohama will also host the first stop of the 2018 World Paratriathlon Series with all races beginning Saturday, May 12.

Women's Preview

In the third stop of the 2017 World Triathlon Series the elites triathletes head to Japan to return to the familiar event of the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama, which this year will also mark the start of the road to Tokyo 2020 Olympics. With the elite women racing over an Olympic distance, and only two weeks after Flora Duffy‘s "coronation" on her own country, 52 women will try to get the first ranking points on the long and exciting road to Tokyo 2020.

Topping the women’s start list will be indeed the Bermudian Flora Duffy, who has had a month of April that will be hard to forget. Duffy claimed gold in the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, with a solid performance, to then shine as only she can do and executed a perfect race to claim the first-ever WTS Bermuda 15 days ago, with thousands of spectators cheering her name.

With that in mind, the double World Champion will have to remember that the course in Yokohama is not as hard as the streets of Bermuda, but is quite technical and slippery when wet, so she will have to demonstrate her magnificent bike skills to try to be, once more, on the podium in Yokohama.

But possibly Duffy’s biggest threat to her crown this year is going to come from the local triathletes. With Juka Sato, Juko Takahashi, Juri Ide and Ai Ueda toeing the start line in their home nation, the Japanese will be one strong squad to beat, and have shown in the last couple of races that their bike skills and running style have improved consistently.

Another strong squad aiming for glory in Yokohama will be the Americans, with again a really strong team headed by the current Series leader, Kirsten Kasper, and the bronze medallist in WTS Bermuda, Katie Zaferes. Both of them strong bikers and phenomenal runners, they are among the few athletes capable to keep up with the frantic rhythm that Flora will most likely impose since the first strokes of the swim. Also a great swimmer, Summer Cook can be included in this pack.

Read the full preview

Men's Preview

For the third stop of the 2018 World Triathlon Series, our triathletes return to Japan and the familiar surroundings of Yokohama city. Fittingly, this year’s race also marks the start of the road to Tokyo 2020 Olympics and, with that in mind, a packed men’s field is once more set to battle it out in the Harbour for one of the elites’ favourite events on the WTS calendar.

Wearing the number one bib as current Series Leader will once again be the Spaniard Mario Mola. After securing second place in the year’s first WTS in Abu Dhabi, Mola finished in fourth place on the beautiful yet extraordinarily tricky Bermuda course, but the double world champion looks confident in retaining the ranking leadership as he goes for a third straight win in the Japanese city.

Mola will have to keep an eye on teammate Fernando Alarza, who proved in Bermuda that he should never be overlooked in Olympic-distance races. Alarza finished sixth after a frantic sprint to the line, beaten by mere tenths of a second by another one to watch in Yokohama, Frenchman Dorian Coninx. France’s U23 World Championship silver medallist is one of the stronger athletes through the run section, which can always prove decisive in this race.

Most eyes will certainly be set on the rising stars to emerge from Bermuda: the Norwegians. There, they made history by becoming the first team ever to secure a clean sweep of a WTS podium, and Yokohama will see two of those stars racing again come Saturday; Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden.

After finishing in second place in the last four WTS races he has completed, Blummenfelt will be vying to get the first gold medal of his career in Yokohama. Last year he won the bronze here, and the revamped harbour-side bike course should suit him down to the ground. More than likely to be riding with him on the bike will be teammate Iden, also hoping for a return to the podium. The younger of the Norwegians at still only 23 years of age, he has had a phenomenal start to his season, improving on 9th place in WTS Abu Dhabi with third in Bermuda.

Read the full preview

Read about the Olympic Qualification here

Paratriathlon

For the second year running, the best paratriathletes from around the world will compete in the ITU World Paratriathlon Series this weekend, with the first event of the revamped calendar taking place on Saturday in the Japanese city of Yokohama. Paratriathletes will compete on a sprint distance race along the beautiful Yamashita Park.

Read the full paratriathlon preview

SCHEDULE:

Elite Women

Saturday 12 May - 10:06 UTC/GMT +9 Click here for the time in your area

Elite Men

Saturday 12 May - 13:06 UTC/GMT +9 Click here for the time in your area

Paratriathlon

Saturday 12 May - 06:55 UTC/GMT +9 Click here for the time in your area

WEBSITES:

https://yokohama.triathlon.org

START LISTS:

Click here for the women's start list

Click here for the men's start list

Click here for the paratriathlon start lists

PRIZE MONEY:

$150,000 USD (equal for men & women)

LIVE COVERAGE:

Follow all the events live with timing and text updates, at triathlonlive.tv and on twitter at @triathlonlive. Below is a media login to watch the races for media use only.

The Yokohama WPS will be streamed live and for free at triathlonlive.tv/yokohama and World Triathlon’s Facebook page.

COURSE PROFILE:

Swim (1.5km) - Two-laps for a 1500m swim in the sea near Osambashi pier.

Bike (40km) - Nine laps of 4.45km laps that begin and end in Yamashita park.The bike snakes around the giant Cosmo Clock 21 Ferris Wheel and Yokohama's waterfront.

Run (10km) - Four 2.5km laps around the Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building

WOMEN MEN

2017 Flora Duffy (BER) Mario Mola (ESP)

2016 Gwen Jorgensen (USA) Mario Mola (ESP)

2015 Gwen Jorgensen (USA) Javier Gomez (ESP)

2014 Gwen Jorgensen (USA) Javier Gomez (ESP)

2013 Gwen Jorgensen (USA) Jonathan Brownlee (GBR)

2012 Lisa Norden (SWE) Joao Silva (POR)

2011 Andrea Hewitt (NZL) Joao Silva (POR)

2009 Lisa Norden (SWE) Jan Frodeno (GER)

- END -

ITU Online Media Centre -

http://media.triathlon.org

Feature include:

- High resolution and web resolution photo galleries (rights free for editorial use)

- Audio quotes for download and preview

- Flash video for download for preview (available 36 hours post race)

- Access to ITU Media Guides

- Full image and press release database with full search functionality

New Users

If you are a new user, please apply for access to the ITU Online Media Centre here:

http://media.triathlon.org/members/register/

Broadcast Footage Available

Broadcast quality footage of the race will be available. Please contact Adam Mason for further details of WTS race footage. For all other video inquiries, please contact Fergus Murray.

For print media information, please contact:

Olalla Cernuda, ITU Head of Communications

Email: olalla.cernuda@triathlon.org Mobile: +34 618965709

Read more on wts.triathlon.org

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

About ITU

The International Triathlon Union is the world governing body for the Olympic sport of Triathlon and all related MultiSport disciplines including Duathlon, Aquathlon, Cross Triathlon and Winter Triathlon. ITU was founded in 1989 at the first ITU Congress in Avignon, France. It has maintained its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada since then and also has offices in Lausanne, Switzerland and Madrid, Spain. It now has 169 affiliated National Federations on five continents and is the youngest International Federation in the Olympic Games. Triathlon was awarded Olympic Games status in 1994 and made its Olympic debut in Sydney 2000. Triathlon is also featured in the Asian Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games. Paratriathlon was accepted into the Paralympic Games in 2010 and will make its Paralympic debut in Rio 2016. ITU is proudly committed to supporting the development of the sport worldwide through strong relationships with continental and national federations, working with its partners to offer a balanced sport development programme from grassroots to a high-performance level. For more information, visit: www.triathlon.org

25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only