The world of triathlon is constantly evolving, and the latest news that has come to light is the change in the classification process for the IRONMAN World Championship of Women that will be held in 2024 in Nice.
Why the Changes?
Since the qualification period began last month, there has been an insufficient response to the event in Nice.
Some events have not even been able to distribute all their places, which has led IRONMAN to rethink its approach.
This adjustment comes in response to the low demand for places for next year's event.
IRONMAN is aware of the challenges it faces in filling the more than 2,000 places available for women at the World Championships in Nice.
Despite criticism received in the past, the women's edition of the event in Kona was a resounding success, with 97% of the competitors finishing the race.
According to Andrew Messick, CEO of Ironman, the lack of interest has been such that some events have not been able to distribute all their places. “We want everyone who has qualified to feel like they have accomplished something meaningful,” Messick said.
This change not only affects women, but also makes a significant difference in the ranking structure between men and women.
Messick does not see this as a problem, arguing that each gender has its own needs and challenges.
Ironman not only seeks to ensure a large number of participants in Nice, but also wants to maintain the competitive process.
Instead of simply adding more spots to Ironman events, the organization is opening up other avenues for qualification. Andrew Messick, CEO of Ironman, highlighted that they seek to recognize “exceptional skills, capacity and dedication, maintaining the integrity of the Ironman World Championship as the definitive stage for the fastest and most competitive athletes.”
New Classification Criteria
New qualifying methods include podium finishes in a select number of Ironman 70.3 races, through “invitations” by age group ranking, and through the 2023 World Championship race in Kona.
Female athletes now have several ways to secure a spot at the World Championships:
Classification by Age Group
Athletes can secure a spot through the age group classification process at more than 30 IRONMAN races worldwide.
Invitations for the Top 10 of Each Age Group at the 2023 World Cup
The top ten finishers in each age group category at the 2023 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, will be invited to accept a spot for the 2024 event in Nice.
Ironman Invitational Places 70.3
The five best finalists in each age group in certain Ironman 70.3 around the world will also be invited.
Invitations for the Top of the 2023 Age Group Rankings
Athletes who finish at the top of their age group for the 2023 year-end rankings will also be invited.
Reactions and Future
Although some resistance to these changes is expected, the decision seeks to innovate and adapt the event to the needs of the athletes. “We're going to try things a little different to get the goal we want,” Messick said.
Men's Qualification for Kona 2024
While the women face significant changes to their qualification process for Nice, the situation for the men looking to compete in Kona in 2024 is also unique.
Most of the men who qualified for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona before the dual locations were announced opted to defer their entry to Kona 2024.
This makes the men's classification for next year very competitive. According to information posted on the IRONMAN website, there are 1,005 spots available for men looking to compete in Kona next year during the qualification period from Ironman Talinn (August 5, 2023) to Ironman Copenhagen (August 18, 2024). .
Of those just over 1,005 places, 360 have already been assigned.
Legacy Program and Other Qualification Opportunities
Like the women, male athletes will also have the opportunity to qualify for next year's race in Nice through the Ironman Legacy Program.
This program offers the opportunity to compete in the world championship to athletes who have completed 12 IRONMAN races.
In addition, IRONMAN offers places through its Physically Challenged Open/Exhibition Division foundation.