The New Zealand team for the first Triathlon Mixed Relay World Series event of the season in Abu Dhabi on 9th March has been named with six athletes making up the squad.
Nicole van der Kaay, Ainsley Thorpe, Sophie Corbidge, Tayler Reid, Sam Ward and Hayden Wilde have been selected.
Chief Executive of Triathlon New Zealand Claire Beard says that selection was based on a number of factors including a mixed relay time-trial event in Kinloch prior to the National Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships and that other factors included results from last year, the current health and fitness of the athletes as well as eligibility. “Six athletes are needed to give us the best chance of success with many factors to consider including injury cover, recovery from the individual race, the conditions and the course.”
Beard went on to say that all the athletes named in the squad will travel to Abu Dhabi with the four athletes racing told the day before the event along with the race order. “We saw some great results last year including the third place in the Mixed Relay in the Commonwealth Games and there are some really good signs that there is young talent coming through particularly in the short form of the sport.”
Tayler Reid who is the current U23 World Champion is pleased to be part of the squad “I’m stoked to have been selected for the initial Abu Dhabi Relay team. This fast and furious event is my favourite style of racing.”
Nicole van der Kaay says that she is also pleased with being selected “I’m super excited to be named. I love representing New Zealand and it makes it that much more special being able to race as a part of a team.”
Sophie Corbidge says she is pleased to be back performing well after recent setbacks “I am delighted to be travelling to Abu Dhabi for the first World Series mixed relay after a rough few years of injury and frustration. It will be great to line up with my fellow kiwi teammates, showing the world what we are made of.”
Corbidge also says it was great to get to race the Time Trial event in New Zealand “Racing at home in Kinloch is always a bit special. I have many fond memories of the place, and was stoked with my performance.”
Sam Ward says he is also looking forward to kicking the season off with Abu Dhabi WTS and mixed relay. “The NZ squad has put in some hard hours over the past few months and the adaptations are starting to show. We have a strong team going to Abu Dhabi for the mixed relay and I’m pretty excited to get back to some intense racing with the worlds best.”
The entertaining format of mixed relay has been included in major games programs such as the Youth Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games and will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The Triathlon Mixed Relay World Series events for this season are Abu Dhabi on the 9th March, Nottingham on the 15th June and Hamburg on the 7th July.
Image : Tayler Reid handing onto Nicole van der Kaay in last years Mixed Relay Race in Nottingham.
Please credit : Janos Schmidt / ITU Media