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Takapuna Heralds The Young Stars Of Triathlon

29th November 2007

For immediate release

Takapuna Heralds The Young Stars Of Triathlon

Takapuna will this weekend buzz to the hum of triathletes of all ages and abilities in the latest round of the Contact Energy My Sport but while many will be focused on personal bests or just making the finish line, others have an eye on more distant Olympic dreams.

Triathlon New Zealand is already planning for future games success. With Beijing on the doorstep and 4 of the 6 possible athletes already qualified for China, the next tier of elite athletes is eyeing a place in London 2012.

A number of those athletes will be on the start line in the elite races at Takapuna this weekend for round two of the Contact Energy My Sport Series, a sprint distance draft legal race on fully closed roads, replicating ITU and Olympic Games conditions.

Tri NZ High Performance Manager for U19 and U23 athletes Stephen Sheldrake says Sunday’s racing may well be a snap shot of the future for the sport.

“We all know of the current crop of elite athletes and how well they are doing but Tri NZ is equally focused on succession planning and bringing through the next tier of athletes. Sunday’s elite races will be a great showcase of that young talent, some of which have already made their mark on the international stage with Nicky Samuels picking up her first World Cup podium this year and both Tony Dodds and James Elvery earning ITU rankings inside the world’s top 250.

“Takapuna will give them a rare taste of a draft legal race on a fully closed bike course. The experience alone in this sort of race will help them enormously as they progress in the sport. 2008 might be too soon for all but Samuels and Elvery but for a number of athletes, it is not out of the question that we will see them representing New Zealand at the London Games in 2012.”

Elite racing will take place in the early evening on Sunday with the women set to start at 6.50pm and the men at 7.40pm. Prior to that though will be age group races over the same course and the same conditions with racing commencing at 2pm.

Ironically some of the young emerging male talent will face their biggest opposition in their High Performance Manager Sheldrake. The Gisborne based coach is still hugely competitive on the domestic scene and won round one of the Contact Energy My Sport Series in Rotorua earlier this month after earlier winning his age group at the Hamburg World Championships.

Tri NZ Community Development Officer Richard Sceats says Takapuna is set to provide a great atmosphere thanks to the support from council and sponsors.

“It is rare for any event to get road closures these days and with safety top of mind it can make for a few sleepless nights for race directors. But the North Shore City Council has been superb in assisting us to put in place a closed criterium style bike course and a run that includes the beachfront reserve and a finish down Hurstmere Road in front of the cafes and restaurants.”

Young Stars at Takapuna

Ryan Sissons
19 years old, former McLeans College student, Secondary Schools Champion 2006.
Member of the World Championship U19 team 2007 Hamburg
Running background, coached by Peter Bennets

Tony Dodds
20 years old, NZ U23 elite champion, won the Oceania U23 Championship in Wellington in early 2007.
Based in Christchurch. Won race one in Stroke and Stride Series, defeating five time winner Brent Foster. ITU ranking 240

James Elvery
23 years old, Chasing a spot in Beijing, has just completed his University education and is ready to focus on Triathlon once again, ITU ranking 111

Tama Christenson
19 years old, from Taranaki. Winner of the 20 to 24 age group at the 2007 Hamburg World Champs.
Running specialist, Coached by Graham Park

Nicky Samuels
24 years old, chasing the third and final spot on the NZ team in Beijing. Podium finish at Kitzbuhel on the World Cup circuit in 2007.

Jacqui Seebold
21 years old, member of the NZ team at the U23 World Champs Hamburg 2007

Sarah Bryant
22 years old, won U23 elite junior nationals in Wellington in 2007. Member of the U23 NZ team at the World Champs in Hamburg 2007


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