Former Triathlon World Champion Rick Wells to Compete in Auckland ITU Triathlon

Former Triathlon World Champ Rick Wells will return to amateur racing for the Barfoot & Thompson ITU Triathlon World Cup to be held in Auckland on November 20 this year. Entries are still open and for Australians this is a great opportunity to get over to NZ and race in a major ITU triathlon ar

In just 110 days New Zealand and international triathletes will compete in the Waitemata Harbour and streets of Auckland in the Barfoot & Thompson ITU Triathlon World Cup – the first major international sporting event to be hosted after the Rugby World Cup 2011 and making use of the new public events space at Queens Wharf.

Former Triathlon World Champ Rick Wells will return to amateur racing for this event. “This is a sport I’ve dedicated my life and career to, so it’s a real coup to have the elites battling it out on my home course. Despite my past achievements in the sport, these races will still be a personal challenge for me and something I am keen to take on to show that anyone can give it a go.”

This unique event, delivered by Triathlon New Zealand, will see a field of the world’s best elite triathletes competing for Olympic qualifying points and will incorporate selection races for New Zealand’s top ‘weekend warriors’ to represent their country in the 2012 World Championships.

Entries are still open and for Australians this is a great opportunity to get over to NZ and race in a major ITU triathlon around the streets of a great city and experience something magical.

The milestone was marked today with a special reception to thank foundation partners and sponsors, who have helped make it possible for Auckland to host the two key events in the international triathlon series, including Auckland real estate firm Barfoot & Thompson which was confirmed as the presenting sponsor.

The Barfoot & Thompson ITU World Cup on 20 November will also serve as a test run for Auckland before the city hosts the biggest event on the global triathlon calendar in 2012, the Dextro Energy ITU Triathlon World Championship Grand Final “presented by Barfoot & Thompson.  The 2012 finale of the series “which also visits world-class destinations such as Sydney, London, Madrid and Beijing “will be held on the same Auckland course as the World Cup event and will attract over 2,000 international athletes along with supporters, media and spectators to the city.

The opportunity to host these two major events has been made possible through the foresight and commitment of Triathlon New Zealand, key funding partners including Auckland Council’s subsidiary Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Major Events NZ, SPARC, Pub Charity, and presenting sponsor Barfoot & Thompson, all of whom recognise the significant benefits this represents for business, encouraging visitors and community value.

Last year, the Government announced up to $900,000 in funding for the 2011 World Cup and 2012 World Championships from the Major Events Development Fund. Economic Development Minister David Carter said: “The Triathlon World Cup and World Champs are further excellent opportunities to cement New Zealand on the world stage of major events,”

“The Triathlon World Cup, Rugby World Cup and Winter Games are all on over the next six months “a great time to showcase our country as a major events host and visitor destination. The Government is pleased to support these events through its Major Events Development Fund.”

Speaking at the reception today Mayor Len Brown highlighted the tangible benefits of the two events, including a return on regional investment for Auckland that is conservatively estimated at around $7.4 million.

“This is a sporting event of the highest calibre and delivers on the elements of our new Major Events Strategy.  As well as the direct economic benefit, we will be profiling Auckland to the world, hosting a significant number of international visitors, while also giving our residents the chance to enjoy two free, world class festivals in the heart of Auckland.”

The two events are expected to deliver more than 7,000 local and international participants from all levels, attract 100,000 spectators to the races and surrounding festivals, and achieve a global television audience of more than 25 million people.

Martin Cheer, CEO of founding event partner Pub Charity said: “This event is a great example of public and private partnership providing benefit to the wider Auckland community.”

Dave Beeche, CEO of Triathlon World Champs 2012 said that while the benefits to the local sporting community were obvious, the two events would also allow New Zealanders to see elite athletes from around the world compete in a championship event that is only surpassed by the Olympic Games.

“This will all take place in a stunning setting that is ideal for the sport, making use of the prime location of Queens Wharf with the water and a challenging course right on its doorstep,  and all completely accessible to spectators.

“Our foundation partners enabled us to put forward the winning bid, and further to their generous support we are pleased to announce our presenting sponsor Barfoot & Thompson. They recognised the benefits straight away and enabled us to progress plans for promotion and development immediately by coming on board so willingly.”

Today’s reception was held at Barfoot & Thompson’s head office, which overlooks a part of the course running alongside Albert Park, highlighting the combined commitment to growing and developing Auckland as a prosperous and enjoyable place to live.

Peter Thompson, Managing Director of Barfoot and Thompson said:  “Supporting this event reflects our own commitment to growing a thriving and healthy community, while also providing opportunities for everyone to enjoy high calibre major events such as this.

“Both of these events will show off our city to the world, and that is something our company is always proud to do.”

International Triathlon Union (ITU) President Marisol Casado said the ITU was excited to bring the World Cup back to New Zealand, a country that has produced many legends of ITU racing. “I have no doubt that this World Cup will be a brilliant success. It will be an excellent way to finish the 2011 international ITU season and a great start to a huge 12 months of elite racing as Auckland gears up for the 2012 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships Grand Final.”

Dave Beeche also noted that the event would not have been able to go ahead without support from Ports of Auckland.  The event ‘transition’ area will be located just inside the famous Quay St Red Fence.

Ports of Auckland Chief Executive Tony Gibson said the port was delighted to be able to help.  “It’s great to see such a popular event on the Auckland waterfront and we’re excited at being able to help make it happen,” said Mr Gibson.  “This is a great opportunity for Auckland and a natural fit with our own focus on fitness and wellbeing.”

Founding event partners are ATEED, Major Events NZ, SPARC and Pub Charity. Presenting sponsor Barfoot & Thompson is joined by other sponsors for the events including Sanitarium, Ports of Auckland, 2XU, Asics, Sileni Estates and The Radio Network.

Event overview and triathlon statistics:

 The Barfoot & Thompson ITU Triathlon World Cup 2011Dextro Energy ITU Triathlon World Championships Grand Final 2012, presented by Barfoot & Thompson
Schedule & dateOne day eventWeek-long festival
 20-Nov-1114 “22 October 2012
Status1 of 9 World Cup events Final race of 7 in the World Champ series (WCS)
 (feeder series to WCS) 
Elite attendance100 athletes (10 of top 20)360 athletes (all top 20)
Participation1,000 Age Groupers2,300 International Age Groupers
  3,800 ‘have a go’ participants
Volunteers involved500800
TV distributionLive domestic to 150k+Live International to 25mil
 Intl & domestic highlights showLive domestic to 150k
Course Queens WharfQueens Wharf
 2 courses: Elite and Age Group2 courses: Elite and Age Group
  • Triathlon is NZ’s fastest growing sport: 90,000 New Zealanders participated in triathlon events last year (an increase from 38,000 in 2000)
  • Participation is 60% female and 56% are aged 20+
  • Triathlon has 365,000 loyal, local fans, including 120,000 in Auckland alone
  • 20,000 kids take part in the Weetbix Tryathlon every year, aged between 7 and 14