By Tom Degun

triathlon w_rings_text_finalDecember 13 - The International Triathlon Union (ITU) have been confirmed as an official member of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) a year after the sport of Para-triathlon was confirmed on the sports programme for Rio 2016.

The move was officially ratified at the recent 2011 IPC General Assembly in Beijing where the ITU President, Marisol Casado, was in attendance.

"Not only will those who compete in Rio achieve their dream of becoming Paralympians, but now all Para-triathletes can consider themselves part of the international Paralympic family," said Casado, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.

"It is an honour to officially join this Paralympic family, on behalf of the ITU I would like to thank IPC President Sir Phillip Craven and the IPC Board."

Casado was accompanied in the Chinese capital by ITU vice-president Sarah Springman, who is also the Executive Board Representative to the ITU Para-triathlon Committee.

Sir Philip_Craven_with_Marisol_Casado_and_Sarah_SpringmanSpringman (pictured left with Sir Philip and Casado) added that the move was a huge boost to the ITU, the sport of Para-triathlon and all triathletes aiming for Rio 2016.

"Since the announcement that Para-triathlon would be included on the programme at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, the ITU has been working with the IPC to improve competition and standards for paratriathletes worldwide and staging that first Paralympic competition," said Springman.

"Now as a member of the IPC, we are honoured to officially become part of the vibrant Paralympic family and use this to drive our sport to even higher levels."

In addition to Para-triathlon, Para-canoe was voted onto the sports programme at Rio 2016 by the IPC Governing Board in December last year.

They will join the 20 sports on the existing programme that will feature at London 2012.

The Para-triathlon is set to be one of the highlights of the Rio 2016 Paralympics as it is set to start on the spectacular Copacabana beach.

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