Competitors take to the water in last years’ Future ChampioNZ Triathlon Festival.
Taupō electricity distributor Unison Networks has entered a one-year partnership with New Zealand’s premier Junior Triathlon event, Future ChampioNZ Triathlon Festival, to be held in Taupō from 14-16 December.
Now in its fourth year, Future ChampioNZ will see junior triathletes – aged from 11 to 20 years old – compete over three days and five races. The competition is unique in that it is scored on points, as opposed to timing, which every triathlete accumulates over the weekend.
Organised by husband-and-wife duo, Stephen and Sam Bradley (nee Warriner – Former ITU World Number 1 Triathlete & Ironman NZ Champion), the Festival has seen continued growth with 130 triathletes participating this year, up from 84 in 2015.
Mr Bradley said the Festival’s growth in the last four years had sparked international interest. "In addition to the top junior triathletes from around New Zealand, this year we have the Japanese National Team attending, along with athletes from Australia, the UK, and Italy.
“Unison’s support enabled us to offer 10 local athletes free entry to this years’ event, and to implement some exciting new developments to help grow the competition further in 2019,” said Mr Bradley.
Mrs Bradley added that a focus for the Festival over the coming years is to increase local participation in swim, bike and run-based activities. “Unison's support will help us to reach more Taupō athletes, encouraging them try the sport and ideally ignite a passion for it!
“Focusing on grass-roots is critical in any sport – triathlon included – and we hope the Festival will encourage more youngsters to step up and reap the benefits of regular physical activity and social inclusion,” said Mrs Bradley.
Unison Relationship Manager, Danny Gough said Unison is extremely pleased to offer support to the Future ChampioNZ Festival.
“This partnership will help us to develop closer relationships with more of our customers, while also being an incredibly important vehicle for delivering electricity safety messages to young people.
“Physical activity brings people together, encourages participation, develops talent and contributes to the wellbeing of our regions, which we are proud to power and connect,” said Mr Gough.
Alongside the racing, youngsters will be encouraged to participate in various workshops taking place at Taupō’s Owen Delany Park.
“Presenters such as Drug Free Sport NZ will be talking about safety and fair racing, and Triathlon NZ coaches will deliver workshops on skills and pathways. Young elites – including U23 World Champion, Tayler Reid, and 2018 Commonwealth Games Medallist, Nicole Van Der Kaay – will also be in attendance to talk to the kids," said Mr Bradley.