The International Triathlon Union has said Para-athletes can "class up" in a bid to qualify for the 2020 Paralympics ©ITU

The qualification criteria for triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics has been approved, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) has announced.

Following discussions among the ITU's Executive Board and the International Paralympic Committee, it has been agreed that Para-triathletes from a class that does not feature in the Paralympics may qualify by competing in a higher class.

Such a move is known as "classing up".

"This announcement is very important for our sport and all our Para-triathletes, as we are giving all of them the chance to vie for Paralympic glory," ITU President and International Olympic Committee member Marisol Casado said.

"Having eight medal events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics meant that not all classes were catered for at the Games.

"By allowing classing-up, athletes without their event in the programme now have the opportunity to go the extra mile and try to be there, even if competing against athletes with different impairments."

ITU President Marisol Casado says
ITU President Marisol Casado says "classing up" will give more athletes the chance to qualify ©Getty Images

She added the ITU will continue to work on having a greater presence at future Paralympic Games.

As part of the announcement, it has also been declared how the Paralympic rankings system will work.

Men's sport classes PTS2 and PTS3 will score Paralympic points for the PTS4 medal event.

Women's sport classes PTS3 and PTS4 will score points for the PTS5 event.

The qualification period will last for year from June 29, 2019.

The qualification events will be the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships in 2019 in Lausanne, the ITU World Paratriathlon Series events within the period, one ITU Paratriathlon Continental Championships per region and the ITU Paratriathlon World Cups.

It was also announced that there will be more events on the 2019 Para-triathlon calendar, with contests scheduled for Milan in Italy and Magog in Canada.