Main image: Simon Dawson Photography
By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Boston University-bound Hannah Prosser headlines New Zealand’s four-strong team for the World Triathlon Junior (U19) Championship to be held in Germany on July 13.
The freshly-minted Oceanian Triathlon Junior champion has been selected alongside Aucklander Sophie Spencer, Christchurch’s Benjamin Airey and Tauranga’s Finnley Oliver for the sprint distance (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) races in Hamburg.
All will be first-timers at the U19 event which is incorporated into the World Triathlon Sprint & Mixed Relay Championship, a critical date for NZL’s senior athletes targeting the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. It’s a particularly sweet moment for Spencer who was forced out of the 2022 Junior Worlds in Montreal, Canada, with a leg injury.
Coached by Tim Brazier, Prosser will take up an athletics scholarship at Boston University (BU) in September. In addition to being the continental triathlon champion, the Wanaka speedster, 19 in early June, already boasts two Athletics New Zealand junior medals including gold at last month’s NZ Junior 5000m Championship in Wellington in a slick 16:15:76.
Prosser won the Oceania triathlon title in Taupo by nearly a minute in late February. Spencer, coached by Bruce Hunter, was the next Kiwi home in 4th place.
Airey and Oliver, coached by Tess Mattern and Craig Kirkwood respectively, were 5th and 6th in the boys’ championship in Taupo. Both 17, Airey and Oliver are young enough to have another crack at Junior Worlds selection in 2024.
The quartet will have two lead-in races before the World Triathlon Junior Championship, European Triathlon Junior Cup races in Wels, Austria and Holton, The Netherlands on June 25 and June 30 respectively. They’ll then have the best part of 12 days training with the Tri NZ high-performance squad at the national body’s European base in Banyoles, Spain before racing in Hamburg.
Meanwhile, the April 5th nomination deadline looms for young Kiwis hoping to be considered for the National Tracking Squad (U23) and the North/South Development Squad (NSDS).
Full information can be found on Tri NZ’s website here