Triathlon: Auckland hopes to host 2013 world event

By David Leggat

New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt at the women's elite section of ITU World Cup Auckland triathlon event last year. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt at the women's elite section of ITU World Cup Auckland triathlon event last year. Photo / Greg Bowker

New Zealand triathlon officials have fingers crossed that they'll get hosting rights for one of the eight world series events next year.

The sport's grand final finishes in Auckland next weekend and the International Triathlon Union congress is taking place on October 23. The ITU has signalled it hopes to identify the eight venues before the congress.

And while Triathlon New Zealand knows it won't host the grand final for perhaps as long as 10 years as it rotates around the globe, there are strong hopes for the Barfoot & Thompson event becoming a fixture on the world championship circuit.

"We are working with Auckland and (New Zealand) Major Events and the ITU to get that across the line," Dave Beeche, chief executive of the Auckland organising committee, said yesterday. "We haven't got confirmation but we're optimistic."

A reasonable view is that if the ITU is prepared to announce its venues for next year before the elite finals next weekend, it would suggest Auckland's strong work in setting up the event will work in its favour with the sport's governing body.

The seven other venues this year were Sydney, San Diego, Madrid, Kitzbuhel, Hamburg, Stockholm and Yokohama, all building to the showpiece conclusion next week.

Beeche is cautious, pointing out the ITU will "do what's right for the sport".

"A lot of cities are bidding to have these, but the ITU have been very happy with the work we've done to date."

A week of activities in the Auckland CBD, based around the waterfront, starts tomorrow morning with the Weet-Bix Kids Tryathlon at St Heliers.

The run-swim-run world aquathlon championships are on Wednesday before the elite women (Saturday) and men (Sunday) take centre stage over what is expected to be gruelling course, significantly different in layout and physical requirements from that used for the London Olympic Games in August.

There's a plethora of age group world events, junior and under-23s with the paratriathlon to be fitted into a hectic three days over Labour weekend. About 7000 participants are expected, including a whopping 3001 age group athletes, helped by around 1000 volunteers, watched by 100,000 spectators, with an estimated global TV audience for the elite finals of 25 million.

Beeche is enthusiastic that the waterfront has been used as the focal point for the championships.

"What's really driven me is helping bring to life the new waterfront which I think is a beautiful asset of Auckland," he said. "You've only got to look back 10-15 years to what the waterfront was, to what it is today. It's a different city."

He's hoping next week highlights the sport, grows its profile and "gets more people active and out there".

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 23 Jul 2014 20:15:41 Processing Time: 765ms