Participants in the 2016 Ironman New Zealand will have more opportunities to realise their dream of competing in the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii.

Ironman have announced plans to distribute an additional 15 age-group qualifying slots at the Ironman New Zealand event on Saturday March 5 for the 2016 World Championship.

The additional qualifying slots are being made available as a result of the cancellation of the Ironman Melbourne triathlon, with those slots spread among existing Ironman events in Australia and New Zealand.

"We believe this will add considerable interest in New Zealand," said Ironman Asia-Pacific CEO Geoff Meyer.

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"For so many, the opportunity to compete at the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona is the Holy Grail in our sport, and the additional qualifying slots have now made that dream closer to coming true."

The additional 15 age-group qualifying slots for Ironman New Zealand bring the total to 55 slots.

The winner of each age-group will earn a qualifying spot with the remainder of the slots decided on a pro-rata formula that is based on the number of entries in each age-group.