Three Whanganui region triathletes are primed to showcase their talents at the upcoming Future Champion NZ Triathlon Festival in Taupo next week after solid performances at the Tinman Triathlon in Tauranga on Sunday.
The Tinman is one of New Zealand's longstanding triathlons and doubles as the Olympic distance national championships, while the Future Champion meet for under-21 and younger athletes is the last major event of the year and the place selectors go to headhunt rising stars.
At the Tinman on Sunday Ethan Gillespie, a Year 13 student at Whanganui Collegiate School, was making the step up to racing this distance for the first time and was placed fourth in the male 16-19 category and 21st overall. His fourth-place finish should see him gain selection to the age-group world championships to be held in Switzerland next August.
Georgina Bryant, a Year 11 student at Nga Tawa, who in October raced at the triathlon world championships in Australia, competed in the sprint distance race in Tauranga.
She was with the lead group of five athletes out of the swim leg, worked with the lead group of woman on the bike that dropped down to three, then was able to distance herself from the two remaining girls on the run to win her age group and take the overall woman's trophy.
This backs up her second place at the Pak'nSave Triathlon in Christchurch the weekend before, where she was also able to secure a spot at the age-group world championships in 2019.
Hunter Gibson, Year 9 at Whanganui Collegiate, competed in the youth race (11yrs-15yrs) taking second place with an outstanding bike leg after having some ground to make up after the swim leg.
All three athletes are coached by Gareth Wright, a talented athlete in his own right, and will compete the Future ChampioNZ Triathlon Festival in Taupo on December 14-16.
"All three, and Madison Gray, a Year 10 from Collegiate who didn't compete in Tauranga, will all be competitive at the Future Champion, an event that brings together the best young athletes from around the country for a series of triathlon-related events similar to the new pro super league triathlon racing," Wright said.
"It is the last major event this side of Christmas ahead of the second half of the season that kicks off in late January/early February ."