Triathlon: Emerging athletes to feature in Takapuna Tri

Braden Currie enjoying the victory at the Port Tauranga 1/2 Ironman. Photo / Getty Images
Braden Currie enjoying the victory at the Port Tauranga 1/2 Ironman. Photo / Getty Images

The Sovereign Tri Series wraps up for another summer in Takapuna this Sunday at Takapuna Beach with racing for all age groups abilities and the chance to see close to 50 elite athletes take to the course in the Oceania Triathlon Union Continental Cup race over the sprint distance.

There is truly something for everyone from the Splash 'n' Dash race for kids, all the way up to the best in the region with eight countries represented in the Oceania Continental Cup race. And for the first time, the College Sport Auckland Championships will be part of the Sovereign Tri Series event at Takapuna.

Unlike last year when elites raced heats and finals, the Continental Cup races will be just the one sprint distance race this year, making for appointment viewing on The Strand or around the fully closed Hurstmere Road course.

The Elite Women will race at 3pm and will feature a number of New Zealand's emerging athletes, coming through the HP Pathway in either Regional Academies or the National Talent Squad, including Deb Lynch (Porirua), Lizzie Stannard (Palmerston North) and Elise Salt (Auckland).

The Kiwis will face international opposition from Japan, Korea and Australia, with Jurie Kato (Japan) the race favourite.

The men race at 4:15pm as a finale to the day's action, with leading contenders including Ron Darmon (Israel), Yuichi Hosoda (Japan) while again a crop of emerging New Zealand talent will line up to earn experience and points in ITU racing conditions, including former Youth Olympic Games medalist Dan Hoy (Auckland), Fynn Thompson (Queenstown) and recently crowned National Junior Champion Liam Ward (Auckland). Former multi-sport champion Braden Currie (Wanaka) continues his pursuit of ITU racing with a start in Takapuna as well.

Event Director Stuart Dwight says once age groupers and beginners have completed their races, they can find one of many great viewing areas from the many bars and restaurants on course to watch the elites battle it out.

"Sunday is going to be a great day, with plenty on offer for the beginners, age groupers and College athletes in a safe and well marshalled environment. Then once those races conclude there are many great spots from which to enjoy the day, the surroundings and watch the elites fly around this tight and exciting course."

Dwight says a number of changes have been made to the event this year.

"Last year the Sovereign Takapuna Tri ran on a Friday night and a Saturday morning, so this time we've made it just on the Sunday so that there is less disruption for local residents and businesses.

"We've also made it so that our village area (sponsors, vendors and event infrastructure) and finish line will be down on the grass area between The Strand and the sand. We've been able to create a very cool village feeling at all our other events throughout the summer, so we are aiming to replicate that this weekend."

Dwight says the prize giving will also be down on the same grass area, because it has a great feel about it.

"This is our last event of the Sovereign Tri Series for another year. Competitors always love Tri Takapuna because it's a circuit event and it's fast. We want to finish the series off with a bang!"

And that will include the announcement of the winner of a brand new Suzuki Swift. All Takapuna entrants go in the draw, with one final name being announced at prize giving to join the other individuals (one from each Sovereign Tri Series race) in a knock out draw to find the winner who will be presented with the keys to their own brand new Suzuki Swift.

- NZ Herald

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