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Team Wizard Triathlon Shines In New Zealand

24 March 2002

Team Wizard Triathlon Shines In New Zealand And Oceania Champs

Hot on the heels of its triumph in the Air NZ Pro Series, Team Wizard Triathlon has continued its winning ways at the New Zealand and Oceania Triathlon championships in Queenstown this weekend.

Graham O’Grady of Team Wizard Triathlon won the NZ & Oceania Under 20 championship, completing a double for the season for the Olympic distance and Sprint events. Graham won the NZ triathlon Under 20 Sprint championships in Orewa earlier this year.

O’Grady, along with teammates Nathan Richmond, Keiran Doe and Anna Cleaver raced in the elite men’s and women’s events at the New Zealand and Oceania Triathlon championships at the Millbrook course yesterday. O’Grady came 12th in the elite men’s race to take the NZ and Oceania Under 20 Olympic distance crown.

Nathan Richmond’s 9th place in the men’s event, as the 6th Kiwi home, improves his ability to enter ITU races to achieve the performances necessary to represent New Zealand at the world championships.

Keiran Doe led the elite men’s field out of the water from the swim and finished a creditable 11th in a tough, international field.

Anna Cleaver similarly led the elite women’s field by more than one minute out of the water after the swim in the elite women’s race, but dislocated a knee on her bike, continuing to finish 12th overall, and fourth in the junior woman’s table.

A delighted O’Grady said that the Olympic and Sprint distance titles had been a goal this season and he was delighted to have achieved it.

“It’s an awesome experience to race at this level and it lifts my confidence for the upcoming Australian national championships, and a move to competing internationally.”

O’Grady said his biggest advance this season had been his move to Auckland to join Team Wizard Triathlon and train in a team environment under the coaching of Jack Ralston.

“That’s been really helpful, and I’ve worked hard and put a lot of time in.”

The Queenstown event was the culmination of a successful first season for New Zealand’s first domestic triathlon team.

Team Wizard’s three elite male athletes, Nathan Richmond, Keiran Doe and Graham O’Grady finished first, second and fourth respectively in the Air NZ Pro Series. Anna Cleaver finished eleventh in the women’s event, an excellent result considering her break from competition due to injury.

Wizard Executive Chairman Mark Bouris said the company was delighted that its focus on backing young athletes was paying dividends.

“We want to give young talent a chance to compete at the top level. Team Wizard’s first season has achieved outstanding results – it’s a credit to the hard work that Nathan, Keiran, Graham and
Anna have packed into the season.”

Team Wizard coach, Jack Ralston, says the team concept has been a significant factor in developing these young athletes and helping them maintain top performance throughout the season.

“Wizard Home Loans backs athletes in Australia and it’s working the same way here in New Zealand. The team thrive on the daily contact – they train together and push each other to get better results,” he says.

Team Wizard triathlon is the first domestic team to operate on the New Zealand traithlon scene. The athletes train and work together, but continue to compete fiercely at an individual level on race day.

The team is backed by Wizard Home Loans, one of Australasia’s leading non bank mortgage lenders. Wizard Home Loans opened in New Zealand 20 months ago and has a national network of 14 branches as well as online lending.

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