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Taranaki Tri Festival opens arms to aid Oceania region

The Taranaki Tri Festival has added another string to its already considerable bow, with the inclusion of a training camp for young triathletes from around Oceania, in a move designed to assist the growth of the sport throughout the region.

The Camp is the brainchild of the Oceania Triathlon Union, with Vice-President Garry Boon excited at the opportunity given to a number of youngsters set to travel to New Plymouth at the end of the month.

“This has come about thanks to the collaboration and support of many different organisations and the energy and commitment of a number of key individuals. The Oceania Triathlon Union met with all country Presidents and representatives in Apia last December and hatched the plan.

“Thanks to the support of event director Shanelle Barrett and the wider New Plymouth community, the region will host 16 young triathletes, aged from 10 to 20 years, and coaches for a one-week training camp. This will culminate with each athlete participating in one of the events hosted as part of the Taranaki Tri Festival.”

Those events include the Weet Bix Tryathlon (for the younger athletes) and the various races on offer at the WIL Sport New Zealand Schools Triathlon Championship.

Boon says the goal is not necessarily to produce ‘winners’ in those races, but to educate athletes and their coaches and to help them share those lessons once back home.

“The camp participants will stay at the Fitzroy Holiday Park Camp site and local New Plymouth Level 2 qualified coaching legend Graham Park will run the training camp. The goal is to improve athletes understanding of the sport and ability to translate that into performance, but also to make triathlon accessible and fun for young people across Oceania, primarily the Pacific Island countries.”

Federations represented at the camp will be Tonga, Fiji, Samoa and Tahiti. Event Director, Shanelle Barrett is thrilled to be part of such an initiative.

“This was an easy one for us to say yes to and do what we can to help. New Zealand and Australia have a responsibility to help grow the sport in the smaller Oceania nations, as do event directors like myself. Everyone involved is doing so out of a love for the sport and a desire to see it flourish amongst the island nations.”

Boon says the week long stay in New Zealand will be a real eye opener for many of the young athletes, most of whom have never left their homeland.

“Some of the athletes coming to the camp will have had little experience at riding a bike, as in a number of Oceania regions access to bikes is often through a sharing arrangement at their local Triathlon Club or training group.

“Triathlon New Zealand and a number of Tri Clubs have sent out an appeal for Kiwi triathletes to donate redundant bikes (road or mountain) in good working order that can be used by these kids while they are here, and then be gifted to the OTU Federations and sent there to aid the development of triathlon in those regions.

“Triathlon New Zealand and other sponsors have generously offered to donate tri suits and track suits to the athletes, and Swim T3 are very kindly providing wetsuits for the athletes during their camp and for their races while here in New Zealand.”

The camp week will be capped off with all the participants attending the official ITU World Cup opening dinner on Friday evening, mixing with the elite athletes from around the world, then staying on to watch the elite athletes race in the ITU New Plymouth World Cup on Sunday 31st March.

Entries are open now for all events at the WIL Sport National Schools Championship, to be held in New Plymouth at Ngamotu Beach on March 29 and 30, 2019. CLICK HERE for entry information.

WIL Sport 2019 National Schools Triathlon Championship
New Plymouth
March 29/30

Events on offer include:

• Individual Triathlon. Age groups
• Team Triathlon. Any combination of 2 or 3 athletes of the same gender, each completing one discipline of the triathlon and tagging their team mate in transition.
• Team Relay. Four athletes, each completes a full swim/bike/run over a super-sprint course, tagging the next member of their team. Male, female and mixed team categories.
• T1T2 Relay. An initiative introduced by Triathlon NZ to improve and encourage transitions by young athletes, with four athletes of either the same gender or two male and two females, racing over a short distance only with the emphasis on quick and accurate transition times.

For more information and the full schedule and rules, CLICK HERE

Taranaki Triathlon Festival Schedule – all events at Ngamotu Beach

Tuesday 26 March, 8am to 1pm
Sanitarium Weet-bix Kids Tryathlon, 7 – 15 years age categories

Thursday 28 March, 3pm to 7pm
Athlete Registration, WIL Sport NZ Schools Tri Champs

Friday 29 March
10am WIL Sport NZ Schools Tri Champs,
3pm WIL Sport NZ Schools T1T2 Relay

Saturday 30 March
8am WIL Sport NZ Schools Tag Team Relays
12pm WIL Sport NZ Schools Prize giving

Sunday 31 March
10:45am Elite Women, New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup
12pm Fun Run for Mellowpuff
1:15pm Elite Men, New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup
2:30pm Medal Presentations

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