By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
The Professional Triathletes Organisation’s (PTO) much-anticipated advance into Asia has been confirmed and will provide a unique race opportunity for Kiwi age groupers as well as the country’s leading long-distance exponents.
Singapore is set to host the inaugural PTO Asian Open in August around a specially designed Marina Bay Financial District course.
The professionals will race on August 19 in the first year of a three-year deal between the PTO, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Sport Singapore (SportSG). Age-groupers, including what the PTO expect to be a healthy contingent of Kiwi weekend warriors, will get their chance to tackle several events the following day including the same 100km course (2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run) raced by the pros.
Further information on the amateur events will be available next month, after the Chinese New Year Holiday. However, priority registration has already been opened to age group athletes across Asia, New Zealand and Australia on the PTO website.
The PTO is a new, athlete-owned body seeking to elevate and grow triathlon. Last year it staged the Canadian and US Opens plus the Collins Cup, triathlon’s answer to golf’s Ryder Cup. Interestingly, the inaugural Asian Open clashes with short course triathlon’s Paris Olympic Games test event from August 17-20.
Kiwis Braden Currie (17th), Kyle Smith (34th), Jack Moody (62nd), Amelia Watkinson (35th), Rebecca Clarke (40th) and Hannah Berry (nee Wells, 65th) all feature in the PTO rankings. Kiwi short course No.1 Hayden Wilde contested last year’s Collins Cup in Slovakia, finishing second to Olympic champion Kristian Blummenfeld. Currie also represented the International team, also finishing second to Team Europe’s Daniel Baekkegard in his match.
Individually, the Kiwi standout performances in 2022 came from Smith and Clarke who were 9th and 8th in the Canadian Open and U.S. Open’s respectively.
A European race is set to be added to the 2023 schedule in the coming weeks.
Each PTO Open is raced over 100km (2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run) with the Asian Open set to be broadcast live around the world to 170+ territories courtesy of the PTO Tour’s partnerships with Warner Bros. Discovery and a series of other regional and national broadcasters.
“When we were planning the first PTO Asian Open, the opportunity to stage the event in Singapore and seeing the world’s best triathletes race around the iconic Marina Bay was something that made sense on many levels,” said PTO CEO Sam Renouf.
“It is important that the PTO Tour goes to different continents, different kinds of courses and different climates – that will enable us to see who really is the greatest endurance athlete on the planet. Singapore will be a great destination as well as a great race venue.”
Renouf said Singapore was now on course to become the epicentre of Asian triathlon.
“Singapore has become famous for hosting world class events like the iconic F1 Night Race, the WTA Grand Final and has also seen tremendous growth in endurance sports through the staging of the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon. With this long term partnership with the PTO to create a ‘sporting major’ in the city, Singapore will become known as the premier destination for Triathlon in Asia.”