(Reuters) - The International Triathlon Union (ITU) launched a mixed relay series on Monday to give athletes more ways to earn qualification points for the mixed relay at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo and broaden the sport's appeal.
The series will officially debut in Nottingham on June 7 before the British leg of ITU World Triathlon Series in Leeds. The format then moves to Hamburg for the Mixed Relay World Championship, before the last leg in Edmonton in July.
There are 55 spots available for men and 55 for women in the triathlon mixed relay at Tokyo 2020, and athletes can also earn qualification ranking points at the five mixed relay Continental Championships.
"We are absolutely delighted with the launch of the Mixed Relay Series," ITU President Marisol Casado said in a statement.
"The Mixed Relay... gives the sport something very important: a sense of team building. But most important, is an event that demonstrates that women and men can compete together but both are equally important to the success of the team."
(Writing by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)