Event organizers used SMARTRAC DogBone UHF RFID tags for race timing in the Long Distance Triathlon European Championships 2011, which took place in Tampere, Finland, in August. This marked the first time UPM RFID’s UHF RFID tags have been used at this level in sports timing.
The competitors, several hundred athletes from over 20 European countries, were wearing tailor-made, water-resistant ankle bands embedded with UPM DogBone RFID tags. The RFID tags were read by ThingMagic readers installed at register points in the transition area gates. The competitors were tracked in real-time, and the results were monitored online on the event organizer’s website.
Utilizing UHF RFID technology in sports timing reliably provides accurate intermediate times in diverse sports competitions where the RFID tag needs to stay with the racer for several hours. The UPM DogBone is widely used in race timing because it delivers excellent performance, especially in demanding conditions like those typical of triathlons. This was tested at the Finnish Ironman Championships in Hämeenlinna, Finland in June of this year.
The long distance triathlon comprises a 4,000-meter swim, 120 kilometers of cycling and a 30-kilometer run. In triathlon races, the timing is split into swim, transition, cycle, transition, and run. The race area comprising the start, transition and race finish was located at the Ratina Stadium in the center of Tampere.
“Real-time timing, especially after the swim, was extremely accurate even though UPM RFID tags embedded in ankle bands had been in the water for around an hour. With manual timing methods, when race bibs are usually attached to swimming caps, it’s almost impossible to register the intermediate times exactly. UHF RFID technology makes it possible to follow the race in real-time, so the race is also extremely spectator-friendly and support groups can immediately assist the racers when necessary,” says Mikko Laitinen, Member of the Board, Team 226.
“With UHF RFID we provide highly accurate time-tracking for athletic races. It’s becoming the most common timing method and is suited to all types of sporting events. The timing equipment is robust and relatively easy to move around and set up even at multiple points along an extensive race course,” says Samuli Strömberg, Vice President, Marketing, UPM RFID.