The ITU Executive Board held its final meeting of the year in Madrid ©ITU

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has approved guideline changes for exceptional heat illness prevention, a document to be distributed to organisers, athletes and coaches to help them prepare for events such as next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

The decision was taken at the ITU Executive Board's final meeting of the year, in Madrid.

It comes hot on the heels of last month's announcement by Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the start times for Olympic triathlon competition will be brought forward due to heat concerns in Japan's capital.

In a joint press conference dominated by the decision to move marathon and race-walk events to Sapporo amid fears over extreme heat, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshirō Mori confirmed talks around other events.

The men's and women's triathlon are due to take place at the Odaiba Marine Park on July 27 and 28, respectively.

Both were originally scheduled to begin at 7.30am, with the change moving that to 6.30am.

The mixed team relay will be brought forward from 8.30am to 7.30am on August 1.

The Tokyo 2020 test event in August saw organisers reduce the run distance from 10 kilometres to 5km.

The swimming and cycling segments of the event were unchanged.

The start time for triathlon competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was brought forward last month ©Getty Images
The start time for triathlon competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was brought forward last month ©Getty Images

Taking place when Madrid was preparing to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, one of the main topics on the agenda for the Executive Board was the recently created Sustainability Commission.

The ITU is one of the few International Federations that has signed the Sports for Climate Action declaration and has committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 50 per cent by 2030.

With this in mind, the Executive Board reviewed the extensive analysis of the carbon footprint of the organisation, and put in place different measures to make sure that not only are its events implementing actions to reduce the impact, but also the individuals within the organisation are showing commitment to sustainability.

"We in ITU take our responsibilities to the planet very seriously," ITU President Marisol Casado, an IOC member, said.

"We are working as an organisation on how we can mitigate our carbon footprint and ensure we are following best practices to keep our impact on the planet to a minimum."

Among the other items on the agenda were a review of the financial statements, the approval of the staff handbook, an increase on the budget for anti-doping testing of 35 per cent, and a careful review of plans regarding upcoming major events, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

The Executive Board meeting, which started with a minute of silence in memory of the recently deceased President of the Romanian Triathlon Federation, Peter Klosz, gave the green light to the appointment of Great Britain's Bex Stubbings as technical delegate for the 2022 Summer Youth Olympic Games in Senegal's capital, Dakar, and reviewed the selection process of technical delegates in all ITU events.

It was also approved that in 2020, the Olympic Games will serve as an event for the World Triathlon Series (WTS) rankings, with five races plus the Grand Final counting towards the world title.

ITU President Marisol Casado led the Executive Board meeting ©Getty Images
ITU President Marisol Casado led the Executive Board meeting ©Getty Images

Furthermore, the Executive Board addressed the Global Safety Task Force, which is doing a comprehensive study on fatalities around triathlon, and discussed the implementation of the female coaches project and the mentorship programme.

A decision was also taken to create, from 2022 and onwards, a new event to be added to the calendar, the Sprint and Team World Championships, that will be comprised of the Age Group Sprint, Age Group Mixed Relay, Junior, Junior/Under-23 Mixed Relay and Elite Mixed Relay World Championships, along with an Elite Super Sprint semi-final and finals event that will be part of the WTS. 

The first edition was awarded to Montreal. 

The Elite World Championships, along with the Standard Distance and the Super-sprint Age Group, Paratriathlon and Under-23 World Championships will be hosted by the United Arab Emirates' capital Abu Dhabi in 2022.

Lastly, the Executive Board appointed the company RBL Brand Agency for the full rebranding of the ITU. 

After presentations from three different design agencies, the Executive Board selected RBL for their "creative, innovative and supportive approach, as well as their vast experience to help us face the upcoming years with a renovated strategy and image to take our sport even further".

"It has been an intensive weekend planning and defining the direction of our organisation for the next year, with some really important decisions taken that will bring ITU one step forward on our path for excellence within sports organisations, and also that will allow us to continue showcasing the sport in the best possible way in all five continents, providing athletes with a safe and fair field of play," Casado added.

The President had met with her five continental counterparts - Ahmed Nasser from the Africa Triathlon Union, Renato Bertrandi from the European Triathlon Union, Justin Park from the Asian Triathlon Confederation, Peter Edge from the Oceania Triathlon Union and Liber Garcia from the American Triathlon Union - and signed development contracts that will help put in place development programmes for athletes, coaches, officials and events.