In what is understood to be a first for the sport at national championship level, students can earn credits while competing at the upcoming WIL SPORT National Secondary Schools Triathlon Championships in New Plymouth, an event that forms part of the Taranaki Tri Festival that is capped off by the New Plymouth ITU Triathlon World Cup race.
Schools racing takes place on the Friday 29th and Saturday 30th March, with the ITU Triathlon World Cup races on Sunday March 31st. In amongst the events will be a special NCEA wave of athletes racing over the same distance as those competing in the U16 category.
Festival Director Shanelle Barrett says it is an exciting concept for the sport and recognizes the width of course options in our schools today.
“This is about taking the sport to a different level, creating a wider base of participation with people from all different avenues and backgrounds, while at the same time offering a genuine opportunity for Year 13 students to include the event as part of their PE studies.”
Students can earn credits towards their NCEA through participation in the event, with a specific NCEA wave being set up during schools racing, it is a concept that fits well with National Schools Triathlon Championship naming rights partner Cheryl London, of WIL SPORT, who speaks with even more passion on the subject given she is a teacher by profession.
“We are delighted with this initiative and the support of TIL Freight to encourage students to not only participate in the WIL Sport Schools Nationals, but to enable Year 13 students the chance to include this in their studies and earn credits towards NCEA. The racing is not always just about the winners or those at the front of the action.
“One of our objectives in supporting this event was to engage with a wider range of students and to foster the participation of a wide range of students, from all backgrounds and abilities and have them aspire to be the best they can be.
“Having NCEA level students able to include the excitement and challenge of racing as part of their curriculum highlights just how broad the objectives of the students, for many it will not be about winning or fast times, it will be simply to enjoy the experience and to challenge themselves in a supportive and positive environment,” said London.
And in a bonus for Taranaki students, thanks to the support of TIL Freight (through local business subsidiary Hooker Pacific), 100 free entries have been made available to those entering from within the Taranaki Secondary Schools’ Sports Association (TSSSA) boundaries.
Tara Fevre is Regional Sports Director for TSSSA and is delighted that the event has welcomed such an initiative.
“After hearing the New Zealand Schools’ Nationals was coming to Taranaki, I discussed with Shanelle how we could ensure our schools and community were involved in both the school events and the ITU World Cup races.
“The opportunity to have the kids racing on the same course as the best in the world and over the blue carpeted finish line was too exciting to pass up, so we strategised about how we could get our local schools engaged. Many of our schools have in the past used the TSSSA event as a means to assess students for PE Credits, so to take this idea to the national event was a no-brainer.”
The partnership has led to a unique experience for a regional event in Taranaki, with no other regional championship essentially tagging off the back of a national level event.
Fevre says the early response has been great, with over half the free entries for Taranaki students taken up in just the first week of entries being open.
“Initial interest from our local schools has been positive. The 100 free entries for local Taranaki students that we have are proving very enticing, thanks to the generous support of TIL Freight/ Hookers Pacific, a local company that has been wonderful with their support.”
Entries for the NCEA race and all other events are open online, with applications for the 100 sponsored entries from the Taranaki region going through Fevre at the TSSSA office.
“The TSSSA is passionate about ensuring our students have quality school sport experiences and as such we are stoked to be working in collaboration with the WIL Sport School Triathlon for 2019. To include our local schools in this and ensure they are enabled to participate is important. That’s where the NCEA race and the elite triathlete school visits fit in.
“The NCEA race is important because it allows local students to participate in a high-quality event but also promotes the link between sport and education. Representing your school at an event is fantastic and it is even better when there is educational value and links to learning.”
And Fevre hopes the event proves attractive to students from all around New Zealand, whether they are in the NCEA event or one of the many other races and age groups on offer.
“Taranaki is a beautiful region with much to offer; so it is exciting to draw young athletes and their families from all over New Zealand to Taranaki. The benefits of which are not just in terms of promotion for the sport of triathlon, but for local business and tourism too.”
Entries are open now for all events at the WIL Sport National Schools Championship, to be held in New Plymouth at Ngamotu Beach on March 29 and 30, 2019. CLICK HERE for entry information.
WIL Sport 2019 National Schools Triathlon Championship
Events on offer include:
For more information and the full schedule and rules, CLICK HERE