Battle for Olympic qualification

by Masa Takaya on 21 Jul, 2011 09:09 • Español

The ITU’s international triathlon circuit, which includes the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series, World Cups and Continental Championships, is also the battleground for Olympic qualification. The two-year period, from June 2010 until May 2012, is an intensive journey for athletes, who compete for themselves but also for their respective countries to secure berths for London 2012.

National Federations are striving for the maximum quota of six (three men and three women), while some emerging countries are making a desperate effort to secure at least one spot. Athletes, through the ITU’s events, shoulder the burden to earn precious Olympic qualification points to gain berths for their country, although even if they secure a spot for their nation, it doesn’t mean they’ll get to go themselves. The majority of Olympic slots are decided through the ITU Olympic qualification points list, and final slot allocation won’t be determined until May 2012.

National Federations can also gain spots if one of their athletes wins a continental championship, through a special qualification event in London in August, and through New Flag slots – in which the ITU awards berths to one country per continent, that would otherwise not have a slot. (For more details on the Olympic Qualification process click here).

The Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Hamburg last week had some impact on the current simulation table, a list showing the tentative number of spots each country has provisionally earned at this point.

Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) finished 11th in the strong women’s field, pushing her up to 44th place in the Olympic Qualification List. The 40-year-old’s best result in the Dextro Energy Triathlon Series earned a potential third spot for Japan at this point. Meanwhile, Italy provisionally increased its spots to two with Alice Betto‘s (ITA) 19th place finish boosting her up to 68th on the list. Consequently, Canada and Germany each lost a spot.

Mateja Simic (SLO) vaulted into 57th position in the ITU Points List after posting a career-best second-place finish in the ITU Triathlon World Cup Edmonton on 10 July. Her performance not only made her eligible to compete in higher-tier events but increased Slovenia’s chances of securing a New Flag berth. Slovenia has never participated in triathlon at the Olympic Games. Simic maintained Slovenia’s chances for a New Flag berth by finishing 39th in Hamburg.

On the July 18 simulation list, the following eight countries provisionally had three spots in the women’s field: AUS, ESP, FRA, GBR, JPN, NZL, SUI and USA.

In the men’s field, Peter Croes (BEL) came in 36th in Hamburg, earning his country a berth … for now. Belgium entered two men in Beijing 2008.

Hunter Kemper‘s (USA) bronze medal in Edmonton was a boost for the Americans, moving him up to 39th place in the Olympic Qualification List, and potentially earning the country a third spot. Accordingly, Spain lost one of its three berths and will seek to recover the spot in future events.

The following eight nations had tentatively three spots in the men’s field: AUS, FRA, GBR, GER, NZL, POR, RUS and USA.

The 2011 ATU Triathlon African Championships earlier this month was also a critical event for developing NFs in Africa. Christopher Felgate (ZIM) and Fabienne Aline St Louis (MRI) gained enough points to seize new slots for their respective countries. The 2012 ATU Triathlon African Championships will decide two firm berths.

Click the following links to see the London 2012 Olympic qualification rankings:
- ITU Olympic Qualification List - Women / Men
- Simulation - Women / Men
- Simulation by country
- Evolution of the number of spots per nation since June 2010

There is a total of 55 berths for each the men’s and the women’s olympic competitions.
After the number of berths for each country is decided, each National Olympic Committee then decides which athletes it will enter. The host nation automatically gets a men’s a women’s berth.

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