Tauranga Triathlon Club is celebrating a record number of athletes selected in New Zealand teams to compete at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final on the Gold Coast in September.

In total 35 members will be going across various age groups with 12 in the Youth (16-19 years) team garnering the most attention. No other club in New Zealand will have a more significant presence at the event.

With Tauranga-based coaches of an international standard such as Chris Willett, Andrew Lloyd and Craig Kirkwood, plus ideal training conditions, there have always been quality triathletes from the Western Bay of Plenty.

But this level of national selection in the Youth age-group category is unprecedented.


Four of the new national reps attend Otumoetai College and earlier this year won the national schools Tag Team titles.

Twin brothers Liam and Blake Miller, 17, Jade Stafford, 16, and Olivia Cummings, 15, are at the forefront of a new wave of talented young triathletes with the ultimate goal to make the Olympics in years to come.

The Gold Coast event is a significant step for them all towards their lofty goals in the future.

"It is a good opportunity and something I have built towards. For close on a year it has been a goal of mine, so to be able to go to something that is labelled as a world championship while representing your country is pretty special," Blake Miller says.

Liam agrees the selection reflects the effort they have all put in.

"Triathlon is an individual sport that doesn't get the same showing in schools as rugby and volleyball and stuff, so for the four of us to get to a world championship level is just a real boost."

Liam is looking forward to being up close to Olympic and world champion athletes.

"The whole event is a five-day race with the top elite guys competing on the Sunday after we have all raced. To be able to watch the world's best is definitely going to be an inspiration to keep going and get to that level."


Stafford says testing themselves against the best in the world "will be amazing".

"It is going to be tough competition, but it is going to be an awesome experience to be up against guys from all around the world who have trained so hard just to get to this level."

Cummings, at just 15, will compete in the Youth age-group division and is also a reserve for the New Zealand Elite Junior team.

"It is a really good opportunity to go and represent New Zealand for the first time and definitely a goal I have been working towards for quite a while," she says.

"My goals are definitely to be competitive and see what I can do. I know my swim is up there with all the best so I just have to hang on for as long as I can.

"Out of a school of 2000, for four of us to be picked to go to the worlds is very cool."