In a move to bolster inclusion, Ironman is giving athletes with intellectual disabilities a new way to compete.

The triathlon series, which takes place around the world, is adding intellectual disability to its existing “physically challenged” division to create a “Physically Challenged/Intellectual Disability Open” category.

Athletes who are part of the new grouping will be eligible for slots to compete in the Ironman and Ironman 70.3 World Championship, officials said.

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The change, which Ironman said “formalizes inclusivity for athletes with an intellectual disability,” comes as part of the group’s updated 2023 global competition rules.

Chris Nikic, the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman, has been pushing races to add a category for neurodivergent athletes.

“Inclusion in Ironman changed my life because it helped me get my dreams by giving me a big crazy goal,” Nikic said. “Now I also have a purpose to help others enjoy this amazing opportunity. A huge thanks to Ironman for being first and inspiring all the major running races around the world to follow.”

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