By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Kiwis Hayden Wilde and Amelia Watkinson have joined a who’s who of world triathlon on the Bahrain Victorious 13 (BV13) team.
Touted as the most successful team in endurance racing, BV13 has been home to Olympic medallists, world champions and rising stars since its inception in 2015, all tasked with chasing key triathlon titles to “promote a culture of health and wellness and endurance sporting excellence across the Gulf region and beyond”.
Reigning Super League champion, World Triathlon short course No.3, Birmingham Commonwealth Games silver medallist and Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Wilde will have his first race as a BV13 athlete at Friday’s WTCS opener in Abu Dhabi.
Wilde joins Beijing Olympic Games and three-time World Ironman champion Jan Frodeno, two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee, Commonwealth Games champion Henri Schoeman, European Ironman champion Joe Skipper and two-time WTCS winner Vincent Luis on the men’s roster.
For the first time in BV13 history, women outnumber men on the 13-athlete roster. Former Asia Pacific Ironman champion and Sunshine Coast-based Watkinson joins Olympic bronze medallist Cassandra Beaugrand, five-time World Ironman and five-time 70.3 champion Daniela Ryf, Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Georgia Taylor Brown, long-distance Brits Holly Lawrence and Katrina Matthews and Paralympic silver medallist Lauren Parker.
BV13 is the brainchild of His Highness Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa, Representative of His Majesty the King for Humanitarian Affairs and Youth Affairs. BV13 (the Sheikh’s favourite number) was founded in 2015 with the help of Aussie Chris McCormack, the 1997 WTCS champion and a two-time Ironman world champion.
Former Bahrain Victorious alumni include Kiwi Terenzo Bozzone, 2014 Ironman world champion Sebastian Kienle, reigning Olympic and 70.3 world champion Kristian Blummenfelt, Spanish star Javier Gomez and decorated Aussie Ashleigh Gentle, a star of last season’s PTO racing.
The Bahrain government also fund a team on cycling’s UCI World Tour. Team Bahrain Victorious feature Dutch climber and general classification contender Wout Poels.