By Kent Gray/
A quartet split evenly by gender and event specific experience will represent New Zealand at October’s Junior World Triathlon Championships in Spain.

Benjamin Airey (Christchurch) and Finnley Oliver (Tauranga) will get a chance to eclipse their 2023 results from Hamburg after being confirmed for their second successive junior (U19) worlds.

Hayley Cornwall (Palmerston North) and Olivia Rooney (Auckland), meanwhile, are poised to make their world championship debuts in Torremolinos-Andalucia, the latter subject to meeting an agreed performance standard.

The quartet earned their spots by being the top two Kiwis home in the men’s and women’s Oceania Junior Championships at Napier in February. Oliver and Airey were second and third respectively behind Tasmania’s Jack Woodberry while Cornwall claimed the bronze medal and Rooney 5th place in the women’s race.

As Rooney, 18, did not finish within three percent of Aspen Anderson’s (AUS) winning time in Napier, her selection is conditional on an upcoming swim test agreed with Tri NZ’s High Performance team.

Finnley Oliver at the NZ Schools Triathlon Championships

Oliver, Airey, Cornwall and Rooney will be part of a big team of New Zealand elites and age grouper athletes in Spain. The WTCS finale featuring the likes of Hayden Wilde, the U23 World Championships, U23/Junior Mixed Relay Championships, World Triathlon Para Championships, and the World Triathlon Age Group Championships are all incorporated into the October 17-20 festival in Torremolinos-Andalucia near Malaga.

Airey was 18th and Oliver 24that last July’s junior worlds in Hamburg, results both are determined to better in southern Spain.

Oliver, still just 17, is riding high following his Oceania Junior silver medal in Napier and victory at the Bay Radiology NZ Schools Triathlon Championship in Mt Maunganui.

Airey, 18, was an impressive 8th at the recent Oceania Super Sprint Championships on the Gold Coast, 26th at the Oceania Standard Distance Championships in Taupo and 24th (13th U23) at the Oceania Sprint Distance Championships in Devonport, Tasmania.

Hayley Cornwall going hard at the Oceania Super Sprint Championships on the Gold Coast

Like Oliver, 17-year-old Cornwall won the senior girls crown at the NZ Schools Championship and most recently finished 18th at the Gold Coast Super Sprint.

Rooney got her first taste of elite competition in February, finishing a creditable 22nd at Oceania Cup Wanaka.

The Junior men race October 18 in Spain, a day before the women on October 19.

Olivia Rooney at the Oceania Junior Championships

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