By Paul Osborne

The Yokohama Triathlon saw the first ever ITU World Triathlon Series event for Para-triathletes ©ITUInternational Triathlon Union (ITU) President Marisol Casado has expressed her delight today at the new classification system launched at the Yokohama Para-triathlon.

It was the first formal ITU World Triathlon Series for Para-triathletes with the sport due to make its Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. 

The new system saw the athletes split into five classification groups allowing for even competition as they battled for honours in the Japanese city.

The groups ranged from P1 to P5 with the former encompassing athletes competing in a wheelchair and the latter for those with total or partial visual impairment.

"We have enjoyed one of the most competitive Para-triathlon events of the year with athletes coming from around the world to compete here," said Casado, a member of the International Olympic Committee. 

"In this Yokohama race, we are delighted to have implemented a new research-based classification system that allows Para-triathletes with different degrees of disability to compete against one another.

"ITU is leading the way to advance the new classification system and this demonstrates our dedication to innovate and evolve Para-triathlon to ensure we can offer the best competitive race environment and enable athletes and watching fans to celebrate great athletic achievements.

"The ITU is also extremely proud that Para-triathlon will make its debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, offering an inclusive global opportunity for athletes to perform at elite level in a modern and dynamic sport.

"I believe on this evidence that Para-triathlon has the potential to become one of the fastest growing sports in the Paralympic Movement."

The inaugural ITU World Triathlon Series event for Para-triathletes saw success for Spaniard Susana Rodriquez as she took victory in the women's visually impaired competition ©ITUThe inaugural ITU World Triathlon Series event for Para-triathletes saw success for Spaniard Susana Rodriquez as she took victory in the women's visually impaired competition ©ITU

The race itself saw huge success for the strong British contingent with the 14 athletes picking up 11 medals between them, including four golds.

Four-time world champion Faye McClelland fought off tough competition from teammate Lauren Steadman in the PT4 race with Phil Hogg recovering from a serious winter illness to secure gold in the PT1 contest.

ITU world champion Dave Ellis won gold in the visually impaired PT5 class, guided by Jack Peasgood, while Jane Egan continued her domination of the PT1 women's class with a convincing win.

Spain and Australia also claimed two golds apiece in this inaugural event as Spaniards Susana Rodriquez and Daniel Molina secured victory in the women's PT5 and men's PT3 whilst Brant Garvey and Sally Pilbeam accomplished the feat in the men's PT2 and the women's PT3.

The final two results saw lone women's PT2 athlete Yukako Hata of Japan finish in 1 hour 36min 25sec and France's Yannick Bourseaux dominate the men's PT4 event.

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