New status expected to boost Wanaka Challenge

Bill Roxburgh
Bill Roxburgh
Challenge Wanaka has been given a boost, with the event set to double as the Challenge Asia Pacific Championships next year.

The event, on February 15, will draw professional and age group triathletes from around the globe to compete on the middle-distance course.

Challenge Family chief executive Zibi Szlufcik said the staging of the Asia Pacific Championship in Wanaka was a milestone in development of the Challenge Family brand globally and sign of respect for New Zealand's triathlon community.

"Awarding the Asia Pacific championships to Challenge Wanaka is a well-deserved development and will attract national and international athletes from the Asia Pacific Region and other continents.

"I'm planning personally to line up in 2020 and experience the beauty of Lake Wanaka, which has always been one of my dreams,'' Szlufcik said.

Challenge Wanaka winner Braden Currie was excited to see what the championships would do to the Wanaka event.

"To me, the Challenge Wanaka half is the best half-distance course in the world. Being awarded the opportunity to host a championship event will enable the race's profile to extend to a global community of triathletes,'' Currie said.

"I believe it will attract a big field of international pro athletes and age-groupers. I know a lot of pros I race with already have this event on their bucket lists, and hosting the Asia Pacific Championships will likely be just what they need to make the commitment to race in New Zealand during the northern hemisphere's off-season. It's going to be a great race and I am looking forward to having it on my race schedule again in 2020.''

Challenge Wanaka race director Bill Roxburgh believed the new championships would elevate the triathlon into a must-do event of the 2020 season for both international and New Zealand-based triathletes.

"We are thrilled to be able to host the Challenge Family Asia Pacific Championships here in Lake Wanaka. We know this will entice many more athletes to come visit and race in our spectacular part of the world. The Wanaka community and our event team have always greeted our guests with a warm Kiwi welcome and we can't wait to bring that kindness and sense of fun to even more visitors,'' he said.


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