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Top world Triathlete – Javier Gomez at Port of Tauranga Half

Top world Triathlete – Javier Gomez at Port of Tauranga Half

One of the world’s greatest triathlete’s will be at Mount Maunganui tomorrow, taking part in the Port of Tauranga Half, presented by Compressport.

Javier Gomez from Spain has been described as “the most well-rounded triathlete in history” with five ITU World Championships (2008, 2010, 2013-15), two Ironman 70.3 Championships (2012 & 2017), an XTERRA World Championship 2012, and a Silver medal at the 2012 London Olympics to his name.

Gomez is taking part in the team’s event at the Port of Tauranga Half, with his kiwi partner Anneke Jenkins and his physiotherapist - Oscar Vincente Rodriguez. Jenkins will lead the team off in the 2km swim in Pilot Bay, with Gomez tackling the 90km bike course between Mt Maunganui and Papamoa, before handing over to Rodriguez on the 21.1km run, which takes in the base of the mountain.

The Port of Tauranga Half will be Gomez’s first event of the year, after a stellar 2017 which included victory in the Ironman 70.3 World Championship and a second placing in the ITU World Championships, after wins in the Abu Dhabi & Montreal legs. There are reports that he will head to Kona, Hawaii in 2018 to enter his first Ironman World Championship.

Anneke Jenkins is a top triathlete in her own right. Coming from a strong swimming background she took up the sport of triathlon a few years ago, and received Triathlon New Zealand’s emerging talent award in 2013. She won the 2014 Aquathon World Championship and was second at the European Cup event in Spain in both 2014 & 2016.

Festival Director Lauren Watson says – “having Javier Gomez enter the Port of Tauranga Half alongside Anneke is a fantastic boost for the event. We have really strong fields in our men’s and women’s elite race this year, and having Javier here will create a real buzz for the triathlon community, and the fans that line the streets of this iconic course”.

The 29th running of the Port of Tauranga Half has assembled outstanding fields in both the men’s and women’s sections, with the event timed to start at 7:30am tomorrow (Saturday, 20 January).

Ten-time race winner Cameron Brown is back, looking to add an 11th title in an event he last won in 2014. His main competition is expected to come from the country’s rising star of long-distance triathlon, Mike Phillips, who recorded the world’s fastest debut in an Ironman event when coming second at the Barcelona Ironman last September. He backed up this performance with a victory in the Taupo 70.3 event in December.

While the battle between the country’s long-distance legend and rising star give this year’s Port of Tauranga Half plenty of intrigue, other contenders for the title are former winners Graham O’Grady and Michael Poole, Australian Alexander Polizzi, and well-performed NZ triathletes Simon Cochrane, Mark Bowstead and Dylan McNeice.

The Port of Tauranga Half women’s field has the defending champ, Amelia Watkinson, returning after an outstanding year on the Asian circuit. She started 2017 with her second consecutive title in the Port of Tauranga Half before going on to win seven events in Asia.

This year, Watkinson faces a strong challenge from leading Australian long-distance triathlete – Melissa Hauschildt who is in a rich vein of form after winning the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship in November, and the Sunsmart Ironman, Western Australia in December.

The women’s field is rounded out by last year’s third-place getter Teresa Adam, and strong performers Rebecca Clark & Pip Meo.

The 2018 Port of Tauranga Half, presented by Compressport starts at 7:30am on Saturday, 20 January at Pilot Bay, Mt Maunganui.

© Scoop Media

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