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Big Weekend of Triathlon Ahead with Challenge Wānaka 2023

A packed weekend of international triathlon is set to kick off the Challenge Family 2023 season in New Zealand this weekend with the longstanding Integrity Homes Challenge Wānaka, now in its 17th year.

No less than 11 events will take place as part of the world’s most scenic triathlon event, culminating in the flagship middle distance on Saturday 18 February. The field features a strong international field of professional athletes, headed by Sebastian Kienle as he starts his ‘retirement tour’ of bucket list races after a long and prestigious career. Taking on the powerhouse German are top Australian athletes Matt Burton, Caleb Noble and Fraser Walsh along with homegrown New Zealand talent Jack Moody, Mike Phillips and Sam Osborne, plus one to watch, Matt Kerr, one of the best AG athletes of 2022 who is racing his first pro season in 2023.

In the women’s race, Rebecca Clarke will be wanting to make it two from two after dominating in the Tauranga Half last month but she has stiff competition from Dutch athletes Els Visser, and Lotte Wilms, currently ranked 36 and 25 respectively in the PTO World Rankings, as well as Grace Thek from Australia. All top-placed athletes will be the first to get points on the board for the 2023 Challenge Family Pro Athlete World Bonus.

On Friday 17 February over 70 elite short course athletes from around the world will take to the streets of downtown Wānaka for the Oceania Triathlon Cup for an exciting evening of fast and furious sprint distance racing. New Zealand Olympic triathletes Tayler Reid, Ainsley Thorpe and Nicole Van Der Kay will toe the start line along with local hero Janus Staufenberg, top Spanish athlete, David Castro Fajardo, and Australian Jacob Birtwhistle, straight off his win in Tasmania last weekend. Also lining up is reigning Challenge Wānaka champion, Kyle Smith, who is returning to short course racing in a bid to make it to Paris in 2024.

During the week the Challenge Wānaka 3-9-3 and Social Triathlon are designed to introduce people to the sport of triathlon plus over 1,000 local school children will take place in the Junior Challenge, Intermediate Challenge and Secondary Schools Challenge. There is also an adaptive event for those with either intellectual or physical impairment. On the Saturday, middle distance athletes will race alongside those competing in the New Zealand Cross Tri National Championships, the Aquabike South Island Championships.

Renowned as the world’s most scenic triathlon, Challenge Wānaka is set in New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps on the edge of the Te Wāhipounamu World Heritage Area and attracts over 2,000 athletes across a range of events for all ages and abilities as part of the Integrity Homes Challenge Wānaka Triathlon Festival from 17-18 February. For further information, visit www.challenge-wanaka.com.

Race start is at 7:05am NZT for pro men and 7:10am NZT for pro women on Saturday 18 February. Live timing and race updates will be available at www.challenge-family.live.