UHF RFID tags were used for the first time in sports at the European Championship level


Event organizer Team 226 used UHF RFID tags from SMARTRAC for the first time at European Championship level, for timing in the Long Distance Triathlon European Championships 2011 in Tampere, Finland.



  • The long distance triathlon comprises a 4,000-metre swim, 120 kilometres of cycling and a 30-kilometre run. The timing is split into swim, transition, cycle, transition and run.
  • The first stage of the race is the most challenging, as the RFID tags need to stay with the racers in the water for around an hour.
  • The competition is hard to follow, and it is difficult to obtain accurate intermediate times before the racers move on to the cycling stage.
  • Traditional timing solutions are often slow and prone to human error, and require a number of costly staff.
  • A timing solution based on active rather than passive RFID tags can be too costly, due to the high tag cost, which also necessitates a deposit system.


Competitors from over 20 European countries wore tailor-made, water-resistant ankle bands embedded with DogBone™ UHF RFID tags.

  • The RFID tags were read 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.



  • UHF RFID technology provides reliable, highly accurate time-tracking for athletics races and is suited to all types of sports event. Furthermore, the possibility of human error in time-taking is eliminated.
  • The timing equipment is robust and relatively easy to move around and set up, even at multiple points along an extensive race course.
  • The timing solution is worry-free, and its ease of use contributes to a pleasant event experience for organizers and racers alike.