Oceania triathletes have been given a huge boost with more qualifying slots up for grabs for entry into the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupō.
Ironman Oceania Managing Director Dave Beeche said all Ironman 70.3 Oceania races in the lead-up have doubled their qualifying slots for the November 2020 event.
The move was to cater for the extra demand from Oceania athletes wanting to race at a "home" world championship, without the expense of travelling overseas to try and qualify.
More than 5000 athletes are expected to descend on Taupō for the 2020 70.3 World Championships on November 28 and 29 next year.
Beeche said the "Fast Track to Taupō" campaign was the start of an exciting time for the sport in this part of the world.
"Ironman 70.3 World Championship events attract a huge following from international athletes looking to tick off a bucket list event and destination.
"Taupō certainly fits that bill with its long association with the sport and reputation as the home of Ironman in New Zealand," he said.
"Equally there is a surge in athletes from the home country or region wanting to share in the celebration, to race in front of family and friends and achieve a world championship goal on home soil, so the demand for qualifying spots is going to be at an all-time high."
The offer covers all nine Oceania 70.3 events, starting with Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast on September 8 and includes both New Zealand events at Ironman 70.3 Taupō on December 7 and the Nutri-Grain Ironman 70.3 New Zealand, also in Taupō, held in conjunction with Nutri-Grain Ironman New Zealand on March 7, 2020.
The final qualifying event is Ironman 70.3 Cairns is on June 7, 2020.
Doubling of qualifying capacity at all Oceania events makes it easier for Kiwis and Aussies to target an event close to home, race well and qualify for 2020, Beeche said.
"But demand will be through the roof and events will sell-out, we advise everyone to put those plans in place quickly and map out their course to Ironman 70.3 2020 World Championships sooner rather than later."
The promotion means there will be a whopping 100 qualifying slots available at the Ironman 70.3 Taupō this December, plus a further 25 Women for Tri slots.
Entries for the December event, have already surpassed the total number received in last year, and are likely to see the race fast track towards a sell-out.
Ironman 70.3 Taupō Race Director Wayne Reardon said 'Fast Track to Taupō' further underlines the popularity of the 2019 race as athletes look to book a spot at the 2020 Ironman 70.3 World Championship race.
Reardon said as soon as Taupō was confirmed as the 2020 Ironman 70.2 World Championship host, demand for the 2019 race "skyrocketed".
"The doubling of qualifying spots only further underlined the popularity and encourage more entries, but also means we can reward more athletes and potentially more New Zealanders with a place on the start line in 2020," he said.
Reardon said spots are not exclusive to Oceania athletes, and internationals were sure to target the extra qualifying opportunities at one or more of the nine events in the region.