USA Triathlon has announced the first participants in the junior paratriathlon development programme ©USA Triathlon

USA Triathlon and the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) have confirmed the first five members of their inaugural junior paratriathlon development programme.

Owen Cravens, Isabelle Hogness, Brock Kitterman, Emma Meyers and Jack O’Neil have been selected to be part of the programme.

The initiative is aimed at supporting aspiring paratriathletes aged between 12 and 17.

"USA Triathlon is proud to partner with CAF to recognise and support Owen, Isabelle, Brock, Emma and Jack in reaching their paratriathlon goals," Amanda Duke Boulet, Paralympic programme director at USA Triathlon, said.

"Each of these young athletes shows long-term competitive potential - and, just as importantly, demonstrates the values we champion here at USA Triathlon such as integrity, commitment and sportsmanship.

"I look forward to watching these athletes progress and accomplish amazing things once the racing season is able to resume again."

USA Triathlon said a travel grant will help to allow the athletes to participate in races and training camps.

They will also have access to training support and advice from Christine Palmquist, a USA Triathlon level-three youth, junior and paratriathlon-certified coach.

USA Triathlon hopes to support the next generation of paratriathletes ©Getty Images
USA Triathlon hopes to support the next generation of paratriathletes ©Getty Images

Palmquist was named USA Triathlon’s 2019 Developmental Coach of the Year and 2017 Paratriathlon Coach of the Year.

The athletes will receive branded equipment and kit from USA Triathlon and CAF.

"The Challenged Athletes Foundation is excited to partner with USA Triathlon to create and support the first-ever junior paratriathlon development programme," Travis Ricks, director of programmes at CAF, said.

"These five young men and women are some of the best up-and-coming athletes in the sport, and we look forward to supporting their growth as they train and compete over the next year."

The athletes will be able to compete at junior paratriathlon events during the 2020 season, should the competitions take place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The events include the USA Triathlon and CAF Youth Paratriathlon Camp in Colorado Springs and the USA Triathlon Youth and Junior Nationals at West Chester in Ohio.

Athletes will also be able to choose an optional event within the 2020 calendar to participate in.