With the new year upon us, British Triathlon CEO, Andy Salmon, previews some of the things coming up in 2022 in the world of swim, bike, run.
“Let me first start off by wishing everyone a Happy New Year,” Salmon said. “Throughout 2021, we were able to return to activity whilst still remaining cautious to the challenges and impacts of Covid-19 and this is something we will continue to do.
“The Age-Group Team were back competing at Championship events abroad, a busy summer of domestic events and club sessions provided opportunities at home and who could forget the amazing performances of our Olympic and Paralympic Teams in Tokyo.
“We’ve had two seasons affected by the pandemic and my hopes are that 2022 is more like what we’re all used to with club activities, coaching, events and travel to international races fully up and running safely.”
Despite only being able to compete at a handful of events at the end of the season, the Great Britain Age-Group Team still managed a medal-laden year. There were also over 500 events which took place across England, Scotland and Wales to provide participants of all abilities the chance to take part.
“As we turn to 2022, there’s so much to be excited about,” Salmon continued. “We’ll have three opportunities to watch elite swim, bike and run in Britain as Birmingham hosts the Commonwealth Games which offers a unique opportunity for both triathlon and paratriathlon racing at a major multi-sport Games. Swansea hosts Britain’s first standalone World Triathlon Para Series races and the World Triathlon Championship Series returns to Leeds in the form of sprint and mixed relay racing.
“To have the Commonwealth Games so soon after Tokyo is great for our athletes and for the profile of the sport in this country, even more so having it here in Britain.
“Having been introduced in 2018, we’re delighted that paratriathlon will remain as part of the Commonwealth programme, this time with classifications for athletes with visual impairments. It’ll also be great to witness world-class mixed relay triathlon on the same day after it made such an impact in Tokyo.
“Birmingham will be the second time in the year that elite mixed relay takes place on these shores, with the format being competed across in Leeds for the first time as the event changes to host elite sprint distance and mixed relay triathlon racing.
“Leeds is an event with a great history of elite and participation racing and we’re incredibly excited by this development in 2022. Not only will the same great experience be on offer for amateur triathletes of all levels, but there’ll be elite triathlon racing on both days for us all to enjoy and cheer the British athletes on.
“As winners of the first Olympic mixed relay gold medals, I’m really pleased that we’re able to bring the format back to Britain so we can see quartets from around the world go head-to-head.
“World Triathlon Para Series Swansea is a real marker in the sand for paratriathlon in this country. Having hosted a Para Series race in Leeds in 2021, we see hosting a standalone event for the first time as an opportunity to develop awareness and opportunity in paratriathlon and do so with a multi-year outlook in seasons to come.
“Our commitment to World Triathlon and to all the athletes is to provide a world-class environment that can help shape paratriathlon events around the world, as well as provide British paratriathletes a race in front of home fans in which to excel and hone their skills in the build up to the World Championships in Abu Dhabi and Paralympics in Paris in 2024.”
Kicking off a summer of elite swim, bike and run activity is the World Triathlon Championship Series Leeds on 11-12 June. July 29 and 31 will see individual triathlon, PTVI paratriathlon and mixed relay triathlon competed across at Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, before, just a week later, Swansea hosts a World Triathlon Para Series race for the first time on 6 August.
“Developing paratriathlon further and supporting participation in disability sport is one strand of our drive to make swim, bike, run inclusive and accessible to all,” added Salmon.
“Throughout the coming year, we will continue to take steps to promote environments which are welcoming and provide the opportunity for people of all backgrounds and abilities the chance to explore our sport.
“This will see us review policies and implement action to support our existing triathlon network and reach out to new areas and partners to help us go further than we could on our own.
“We also want to ensure that our sport is accessible for years and generations to come, which is why 2021 saw us launch the British Triathlon Sustainability Commission.
“The work of the commission in 2022 will be to produce an action plan with which to consult widely across the community.
“Looking at how we as a sport can be sustainable in environmental and social areas, the action plan will outline what sustainability looks like for triathlon as well as how we can reduce the negative impact and boost the positive impact that participation in swim, bike, run can have. We will also continue to develop Beyond Swim to further promote safe open water swimming activities to the benefit of individuals, venues and the environment.”
Inclusivity and making sport sustainable have become key drivers for British Triathlon, with the work of the sustainability commission starting in earnest at the end of 2021 by defining sustainability in triathlon through the use of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
“Whilst I can’t go into detail about everything that will be happening in 2022, I hope this provides enough to help you get as excited as I am for the year ahead,” Salmon concluded.
“As we look forward to a new year, may I once again wish you a happy and healthy 2022.”