1 ITU PARATRIATHLON Fair Start System PROPOSAL Prepared for: ITU EXECUTIVE BOARD Prepared by: ITU SPORT DEPT & PARATRIATHLON COMMITTEE April 2, 2014
2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OBJECTIVE To enable paratriathletes with different degrees of activity limitation to compete in the same medal event. GOALS To promote a high level of competition by drawing competitors from the largest possible field. To strengthen the sport s long term viability. To encourage a broad spectrum of participation among potential competitors. To make Paratriathlon even more media and spectator friendly. PROJECT OUTLINE Initially, three (3) basic concepts must be followed to ensure that time factors are fair and purposeful within in a sport class: 1. All factors should represent the performance of the sport class rather than each individual athlete. 2. Athletes should not be penalized for outstanding performances by making factors more difficult. 3. Less capable athletes should not be rewarded with an easier factor. *A Sport Class is a group of athletes with a similar degrees of activity limitation who compete directly against one another for the same medal. For Paratriathlon, only elite level sprint triathlon distance races shall be used to calculate a factor value. This compensation time will not be applied to any Multisport discipline or if a specific segment/leg in a sprint distance triathlon is modified or cancelled. Once the data sets are determined from multiple races, a series of median time calculations are made for each segment of swim, bike and run. (Note: Transitions are not yet incorporated into the factor.) In order to calculate the initial factor within a sport class, only races with sufficient competitors are used. Also, only races at an Elite level will be used. In order to eliminate anomalies, both exceptionally fast race and slower Open Paratriathlon or recreational-type results will be discarded. Finally, a median factor for each sub-class is then calculated for each race segment from all races. This factor represents the ratio of the sub-class times, which can then be combined with the factors derived from other races to obtain a final factor which represents the true performance of the majority of members of that sub-class.
3 ADDENDUM BACKGROUND The Factor Restoration Mechanism is based on the original work of Ing. Niko Moll in the early 1990s. A similar technique was earlier developed at the University of Vienna. That mechanism, later called The RHC KREK System or Realistic Handicap Competition-Kreative Renn Ergebnis Kontrolle. It used a quadratic formula based on best results in each sport class and was applied subsequently to IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Race results. RHC-KREK was later refined and applied under the direction of Michael Knaus (then IPC Alpine Skiing Race Director) over the next 10 years. The IPC Alpine Skiing Factor System Working Group was established in 2008 to consider further improvements and to address perceived short-comings in the system at that time. The Group adopted a number of modifications suggested in a paper by Dr. D. Percy and B. Warner to improve the calculations and to provide a formal mathematical basis for the process, which would be now lead by Hug h Daniel. In 2011, a system based on the same principles was presented for IPC Nordic Skiing and Snowboard. Observations of race results confirm that those principles have held up extremely well. SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT In summer of 2011, ITU Paratriathlon Sport Manager, Eric Angstadt, initiated a process to contact Hugh Daniel, leader of the IPC Alpine Working Group since There have been multiple meetings since and test version to simulate a staggered start system and draft proposal. Many revisions with the existing results have been done until February 2014 to produce a final proposal. A draft calculation for the PT5 sport class (VI) has been submitted to the paratriathlon committee replicating the London 2013 WCHs results and the simulated impact of the proposal.
4 Mathematical Methodology Once the data sets are determined from multiple races a series of median time calculations are made for each segment of swim, bike and run. Currently, transitions are not incorporated into the factor due to the multiple variables and constraints that affect a paratriathlon race. Further discussion on how to quantify transition compensation time is planned in the future. A median factor for each sub-class is then calculated for each segment from all races. This factor represents the ratio of the sub-class times, and hence can be combined with the factors derived from other races to obtain a factor which represents the performance of the majority of members of that sub-class. In the mid-long term, with a bigger set of data, the values obtained will be more accurate and reflective of reality. As the mathematical factor within a class evolves mathematical interpolation methods are used to converge on a new factor value using an annual adjustment. This mathematical interpolation ensures the factor within a class continues to reflect the greatest possible accuracy. In the longer term, it will be possible to use a quadrennial of results representing the Paralympic Games cycle, and as the sport matures the amount of adjustment will tend to decline as the sub-class factor converges to an ideal result. Using the PT5 ( Visually Impaired) Sport Class as an example, in the complete excel calculation sheet it shows factor values of 1.00 for PT5 (B2 & B3) in all segments and values for each factor in the swim: 0.929, bike: 0,944 and run: 0,966 for PT5(B1). This calculation is based on a data set using 29 male athletes for PT5 (B1) and 52 male athletes for PT5 (B2 & B3). These factors are then compared against the estimated time for that course to produce the staggered start time differences of 3:43 (mm:ss) awarded to PT5 (B1) male athletes. The current data set for female PT5 athletes is not large enough for an accurate calculation. Thus, a factor comparing and performance race analysis male and female athletes was used and determined to be 15%. The female factor is then created by increasing the male factor by 15%. The female PT5 (B1) sub-class would then be awarded a time difference of 4:16 (mm:ss) over the female PT5 (B2 & B3) females. RATIONALE FOR USE WITHIN A CLASS One of the principles on which the system relies on is a robust set of data (race results). The more results the more reliable outcome in the calculations. In this sense, we have collected data since the paratriathlon races turned into a sprint format in In this sense, all the results collected have been based on the categories and profiles that were defined under the previous classification system. The set of data is still far from ideal but there needs to be start at some point in time.
5 With the outcome of the new system, the only results that can be correlated between the two systems with a high level of reliability are those from athletes with a vision impairment, as they have always been allocated under the same sub-classes (B1, B2, B3) which are based on an unchanged criteria and are the most homogenous in that regard. The applicability of the method to this group of athletes is the most feasible at this point in time although there could be some side considerations by the fact the blackout goggles were used until 2012 and how this may have affected performances. More important to consider is the fact the actual (B1-B3) divisions do not correspond to an evidence-based sport specific classification system. It is however, the existing subdivisions within the sport class that currently stand for all Paralympic sports with vision impairment athletes until sport-specific research in the VI field is conducted. This is on the ITU agenda in the immediate future. The other group to which it could potentially be applied (and has been drafted) is for the athletes using hand-bikes and racing wheelchairs, old TRI1 category now called PT1. But the only subdivisions within that category were the profiles, and after the research project has concluded certain outcomes, it is clear that some athletes with very significant differences in activity limitation were allocated same profiles, therefore producing a set of results that in many ways is not reliable. Once all those athletes undergo classification under the new system, an adjustment to the existing set of results together with the new ones could potentially provide a large set of reliable data. We don t see how this is possible until all PT1 athletes have been classified this year and the results have been readjusted and recalculated. For the previous TRI2 to TRI5 Sport Classes, the new classification system has clearly shown how the impairments that were included in those categories didn t correspond to an evidence-based classification system. The athletes now mix in different ways into the PT2 - PT4 sport classes, based on range of activity limitation. The build of a correlation from the old system set of results into the new structure is nearly impossible to do in a sensible way and even further, there is nothing at this point in time that determines if a significant or big difference in activity limitation within each of those sport classes is really existing and potentially demanding a compensation through the factor/staggered start system. Further analysis at the end of the 2014 season will be done in this regard.