Photos: T100 Triathlon World Tour

By Kent Gray/
Life is all about grasping opportunities when they present themselves and on that count, Kyle Smith cannot be faulted in the first half of 2024.

The Girona-based Taupo 26-year-old has soared 11 spots to a career-best No.3 in the just recalculated PTO world rankings on the back of his eye-catching form since mid-February.

Victories at Challenge Wanaka and the Challenge Championship in Samorin have helped but it’s the points Smith gained as a wildcard at T100 races in Singapore (5th) and San Francisco (2nd) – afforded ‘diamond’ status in the calculations – that have spearheaded the Kiwi’s dramatic ascent.

Up to 4th in the T100 Triathlon World Tour season standings as a result, it makes Smith a seemingly irresistible choice for further wildcards starting with the next round in London in late July. If he can kick-on, he could even make it very difficult for the PTO to not offer him one of the 20-contracted spots in 2025.

In an wide-ranging interview captured after his dramatic sprint with Belgian Marten Van Riel in San Francisco, Smith was asked whether he’d be in London on July 28.

“I’m pretty sure, yeah hopefully my performance today put me in a good opportunity to get a wildcard in London,” Smith said.

“Obviously we’ll have to see what happens with the contracted athletes and how many spaces are up for a wildcard, but yeah, I’m optimistic and you know, if I get the call up I’ll be there.”

Smith was also quizzed in the T100 Triathlon World Tour Youtube Channel interview whether he believed winning a T100 race was now more prestigious than winning an Ironman 70.3 race or even the 70.3 world title? It was a tricky question given the 70.3 world championships are set for his home town of Taupo in December but Smith answered with aplomb.

“This is the biggest race series on the planet right now and it’s 20 of the best athletes in the world and you know, I was saying earlier, like I didn’t get a contract and I really feel like I didn’t deserve one because although I believe I belong in this series, I just wasn’t good enough last year to deserve one,” Smith said.

“There’s 20 of the best athletes in the world assembled…it doesn’t what the title of the race is, if you beat that caliber of athlete day in and day out, or you know for a whole season which we’ve never ever before, and I think that is what brings the prestige.”  

Smith has 94.26 points to be positioned behind American Sam Long (96.52) and Dane Magnus Ditlev (96.24) in the PTO rankings.

The top 10 Kiwi men are: Smith (3rd), Mike Phillips (35), Braden Currie (47), Ben Hamilton (51), Jack Moody (53), Sam Osborne (71), Matt Kerr (178), Scott Harpham (203), Simon Cochrane (211) and Michael Tong (253).

American Taylor Knibb, meanwhile, as replaced Aussie Ashleigh Gentle atop the women’s rankings after her Ironman 70.3 Oceanside and T100 San Francisco victories.

The top 10 Kiwi women are: Amelia Watkinson (14), Hannah Berry (32), Rebecca Clarke (46), Samantha Kingsford (132), Deborah Fuller (149), Laura Armstrong (167), Heather Neill (190), Angharard Llewellyn (211), Laura Wood (228) and Hannah Knighton (260).

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