Tri NZ Eyes Up Continental Cup In New Plymouth
For immediate release from Triathlon New Zealand, for further information visit www.triathlon.org.nz
1st December 2008
Triathlon New Zealand Eyes Up Continental Cup In New Plymouth
Triathlon New Zealand has today confirmed that New Plymouth will not host a World Cup race in April next year, however talks are well advanced to host an ITU Continental Cup event featuring top local and overseas athletes as part of the Port Taranaki World Triathlon Festival.
The Festival is on track to proceed in April 2009 and will once again feature a range of community based events, competitive age-group racing as well as, subject to closing out the talks, the international feature event.
The decision to move away from a World Cup towards a Continental Cup is due largely to recent instability in the international monetary markets and the subsequent impact that has had on the US dollar. An ITU Continental Cup sits a rung below the World Cups in terms of points and status, however normally still attracts good international fields and are great show-piece events for our elite and emerging elite athletes alike.
Given that all International Triathlon Union events deal in American dollars, Tri NZ CEO Dave Beeche says the decision was regrettable but the only option open to the sport.
“In a perfect world we would love to have continued with a World Cup race but a number of factors led to us to this decision,” said Beeche from the ITU conference in Madrid.
“We are operating in a time of change already with the introduction of the new ITU World Championship series now sitting above the World Cup races; many events around the world are considering their status and futures. But, among other things, the downward direction of the low US dollar effectively made the final decision for us, with the costs escalating beyond our ability to host a World Cup event in 2009.
”This is obviously a big disappointment for us, all the more so in the year following the Beijing Olympic Games but we cannot put the wider issues of the sport at risk through committing dollars we don’t have to the one event.
“While the decision to not proceed with the World Cup is an unfortunate reality, we are well advanced in discussions with local New Plymouth partners and funding agencies and the ITU about securing an ITU Continental Cup event that will still carry significant international kudos. We should be in a position to confirm the situation within 2 weeks.
“The ITU has been more than understanding of our situation and is supporting our initiatives with regards a replacement event, likely to be an ITU Continental Cup Race that will piggy back the Mooloolaba World Cup the weekend before.”
New Plymouth Mayor Peter Tennent remains upbeat and is excited about the future of the World Tri Festival and associated events.
“Taranaki remains committed to hosting an international class event as part of the World Triathlon Festival and we are confident that we will be alongside Triathlon New Zealand and our other local sponsors and partners when news is announced in the next fortnight.
”What you will hear will not just relate to the international athletes and the points and significant prize money on offer but further investment in events and activities that all New Zealanders can be a part of. From ocean swims to fun runs and walks to age group triathlons and of course the Weet-Bix Tryathlon for children, the World Triathlon Festival in Taranaki will again be a great event.”
Dave Beeche too is optimistic about a Continental Cup and has already canvassed a number of New Zealand’s elite triathletes about the proposed race in April 2009.
“We are not over the line yet but it looks promising at this point. I have already spoken with a number of our leading Triathletes and the response has been positive to supporting such an event in all aspects, including racing.”