School triathlon champs welcome addition to event

Potential New Zealand Olympic mixed triathalon team relay event competitors converged on Wanaka over the weekend as part of the New Zealand Secondary School Triathlon Championships.

More than 40 schools and 250 young athletes competed in the individual, team races and tag team relay triathalon races hosted by Challenge Wanaka on Sunday.

Race director Bill Roxburgh said hosting the school triathalon championships really added to the Challenge Wanaka event, as it brought more parents to compete in the Challenge Wanaka half race, which helped with their fundraising.

He said he attended the school tri championships in New Plymouth last year and he believed the Wanaka event was "far superior".

"The kids have loved it, great course, great swim and a real fun event."

Tri NZ regional youth co-ordinator Chris Willett said the organisation was always moving the competitions around New Zealand, but being a part of Challenge Wanaka was "great" as they were able to use the infrastructure.

Individual races were held in the morning, and team relays, including the mixed team relay, were held in the afternoon.

Willett said it was only the third year the championships had included the mixed team relay, which is made up of two boys and two girls and it was "still evolving".

He said it was very exciting to watch as there were so many lead changes, "depending on what makes up the team and who makes up the team."

Each athlete has to complete the whole triathlon and then tag their team mate, who does the same.

It will be a new Olympic event at the Tokyo games this year, and New Zealand is ranked fourth in the world.

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