By Gary Anderson

January 20 - The ITU has revealed how athletes will qualify for Para-triathlon's debut appearance at the Rio 2016 Paralympics ©Getty Images The qualifying criteria for triathletes aiming to secure a spot at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where the sport will be making its debut, was announced today. 

Both the men and women will feature equal fields of 10 athletes for three medal events, allowing for a combined maximum of 60 athletes across the two genders.

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) Executive Board and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are set to decide the medal events for Rio 2016 later this year, after triathlon was accepted onto the list of sports in 2010 along with canoeing.

The main routes for Paralympic qualification will come through the major international events that will take place during the qualification period which is due to run from July 1, 2015, to June 30, 2016.

These competitions take at the 2015 World Championships in Chicago, as well as Continental Championships and World Paratriathlon Events.

The World Championships will be capped at 100 athletes, while Continental Championships will feature a maximum of 70 with World Paratriathlon Events limited to 60, for elite competitors.

The three male and three female athletes who win World Championship gold in 2015 will earn their respective National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) one qualification spot for Rio 2016 in each of the three events.

The top six ranked athletes on the ITU Paralympic Qualification List, outside the 2015 world champions, will also be allocated a place at Rio with a maximum of two qualification slots per medal event allotted to an NPC.

Hosts Brazil can directly qualify one male and female athlete if not otherwise qualified, while another eight male and female places will be decided by the IPC and ITU through the Bipartite Commission Invitation process.

The Bipartite Commission is designed to ensure talented athletes have the chance to take part in the Games who may not have had the opportunity to formally qualify through other methods due to extraordinary circumstances and to ensure that each medal event has sufficient representation from athletes with severe disabilities, as well as addressing gender and regional representation.

Any qualification slot not used by an NPC will be reallocated to the next highest ranked athlete in the respective medal event on the Paralympic Qualification List.

Multi-world champion Bill Chaffey of Australia will be hoping to be one of the athletes vying for medals at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images Multi-world champion Bill Chaffey of Australia will be hoping to be one of the athletes vying for medals at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

The ITU has also announced that it will implement a new classification system this year which will result in one sitting, three standing and one visually impaired category for both male and female athletes.

Athletes with hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, limb deficiency, impaired passive range of movement, impaired muscle power or vision impairment will be allocated a place in one of these five classifications.

To be eligible for selection by their respective NPC for Rio 2016, athletes must be internationally classified with either a "confirmed" or "review" sport class status.

"Paratriathlon's entry into the Paralympic Games will be a watershed moment for our sport," said ITU President and International Olympic Committee member Marisol Casado.

"The sport has grown exponentially in the last several years and ITU is working tirelessly to prepare for a successful competition in Rio."

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