Triathlon Australia backs Olympic teams bid29 April 2011
Triathlon Australia and AIS National Head Coach Shaun Stephens has today welcomed the International Triathlon Union’s inclusion of the World Sprint and Teams Championships onto this year’s ITU World Championship Series.
The ITU announced that the ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championships and the ITU Team Triathlon World Championships will be integrated into the World Championship Series for the 2011 season.
Both events are scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland on August 20 and 21.
Athletes will have the opportunity to earn points in the Sprint World Championships towards their overall Triathlon Series rankings, which determine the ITU World Champions, however, neither event will have Olympic qualifying points on offer.
Australia’s defending two-time world champion Emma Moffatt finished second to Sweden’s Lisa Norden in last year’s World Sprint Championship.
The ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championships will have a prize purse of $US100, 000 with the Team Triathlon World Championships, a prize purse of $US50, 000.
The Teams event will see Nations battle to be the top triathlon nation as teams consisting of two men and two women, each completing a super sprint triathlon of 275m swim, 6km bike and 1.5km run.
The ITU believes the higher profile of the Team Triathlon World Championships will bolster the world governing body’s bid to have the event included on the Olympic Games programme for Rio 2016.
Stephens said Triathlon Australia was “very supportive of the concept of a Teams event to be included in Rio 2016.”
“Triathlon is a rapidly growing sport and the introduction of another Olympic event that is extremely exciting to race and to watch not only provides increased spectator interest but also creates greater interest amongst potential participants,” Stephens said.
“Based on athlete performances, I would anticipate Australia will be sending full teams to both the Sprint Championships as well as entering the maximum of two mixed teams for the Teams Championships.
“Being shorter distances, we believe both races allow the opportunity for younger developing athletes to gain greater exposure and be competitive in high quality competitions.
“Australia has fully supported the idea of integrating the Sprint Championships into the World Championship Series as it provides an additional opportunity for athletes to score valuable World Championships Series points over an exciting course.
“It is ideal in terms of timing for a final hit-out prior to the World Championship Grand-Final in Beijing to be held three weeks later.”
The Sprint World Championships is half the Olympic distance at 750mswim, 20km bike and a 5km run.
ITU President and IOC Member, Marisol Casado, said: "We are extremely pleased to raise our Team and Sprint Championships into the premier triathlon series in the world.
“This is another important step forward in our dream to have Team Triathlon included on the Olympic Games programme.
“Both the Sprint and Team Relay are exciting formats of triathlon and are sure to attract fresh interest in the sport."
Last year Switzerland thrilled the home crowds by winning its second straight Team Triathlon World Championship.
Norden and Jonathan Brownlee of Great Britain were crowned the inaugural ITU Sprint Triathlon World Champions.