Five hundred out of town competitors descended on Whanganui for the David Jones Suzuki New Zealand Schools Triathlon Championships with family members, support crews and coaches in tow.

Coming hot on the heels of the Master's Games, Mayor Hamish McDouall says there could be an opportunity to re-brand.

"Whanganui is, I'm going to make a bold claim here, the sporting capital of New Zealand," says Mr McDouall.

The event is built around the city's iconic river, which it seems, is in good company internationally.

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"It was only ten days ago that parliament declared Te Awa Tupua a legal entity and it's extremely historic. And guess what? A week later the Ganges followed," says Mr McDouall

It is estimated the event will inject 500 thousand dollars into the local economy.

"We have seen a great deal of interest, we are delighted to host it in Whanganui, it's a great way to showcase what we have here. So we estimate that there is a number of people possibly staying two nights in town, " says Ms Cheyne, Whanganui & Partners strategic lead destination manager.

Competitors came from as far away as Tahiti.

"So we have had 606 entries across the four races which is two days events. We reckon about 500 are from out of town and 100 from local Whanganui schools," says Ellie Heenan, Sport Whanganui events support coordinator.

The event wraps up on Friday afternoon.

Sieska Verdonk - Local Focus