Kiwi triathletes ready to beat the heat and work towards Olympic qualification in Tokyo

Published Date: 14 August, 2019

NZOC Media Release
13 August 2019 


New Zealand’s elite triathletes are gearing up for their Tokyo 2020 Test Event.


Ainsley Thorpe, Nicole van der Kaay, Sophie Corbidge, Hayden Wilde, Sam Ward, Tayler Reid and Ryan Sissons are in Tokyo for the Triathlon Olympic Test Event.


The New Zealand athletes spent a week training and acclimatising to the heat in Sakata before travelling to Tokyo, and two-time Olympian Ryan Sissons says it’s paying dividends.


“The heat training has been really important, and we’ve done a lot of that. It’s a two-hour race finishing around 9.30am with a predicted ‘feels like’ temperature of around 40-degrees, so that’s challenging,” said Sissons.


“Keeping the body cool and the heart rate in check in the heat is something I’ve been looking at in training, trying to figure out how to keep my body as cool as possible while still going really hard.”


The Olympic Test Events are held on the course for next year’s Olympic Games and are a key part of New Zealand Team athlete preparation for Tokyo 2020.


“This is one of qualification races for Tokyo, for us it’s great to be able to race on the Olympic course in the conditions the Olympic Games will be in. Athletes go differently in different conditions so to go well here would be a good sign,” said Sissons.


“This is one of the races I’ve been targeting all season, I started off slowly but am working into the season well and am excited for the race.”


As well as the individual races the new Olympic discipline of ‘mixed team relay’ will also be contested, where 2x male and 2x female athletes race a sprint triathlon distance.


Nicole van der Kaay won bronze as part of the New Zealand mixed team relay squad at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and says the fast paced discipline is exciting to race and to watch.


“It’s brought a new element to the sport which I really like and we’ve had some good results lately which has been awesome,” said van der Kaay.


“Our team culture’s really good, we mesh really well and our strengths really compliment other.”


The women’s race will be contested on Thursday August 15th, with the men’s to follow on Friday August 16th. The mixed team relay will be contested on Sunday August 18th.


The four athletes for the Mixed team relay will be announced following the individual races.