ITU Oceania Championships Preview

At this weekend’s 2011 OTU Oceania Triathlon Championships in Wellington, Andrea Hewitt (NZL) is the favourite to defend her elite women’s title, but it will mean more than before as this will be the first ITU event in New Zealand since the Christchurch earthquake.

Hewitt was in Wanaka on a training camp with the rest of New Zealand’s elite triathletes, when the devastating earthquake first hit her hometown on February 22. She spent the afternoon frantically contacting family. Luckily, they were unscathed as both Hewitt and her partner Laurent Vidal (FRA) tweeted during the crisis.

But over 150 people died in the natural disaster and Christchurch was still officially in a stage of emergency this week, and Hewitt told a website it had given her perspective.

“Some things happen which you can’t control,” Hewitt said.  This weekend, the 28-year-old has something she does have a little more control over – the Oceania championships.

The Wellington course is based in the centrally located Waitangi Park and will start when athletes dive into the harbor for one 1.5km triangular lap. The fairly flat bike leg then circles downtown Wellington, with just one 750m climb and a hairpin bend on descent, with the capital’s famous wind gusts proving the biggest handicap.  The run is a flat, non-technical course that will suit those who go flat out from the start.

Hewitt triumphed in the women’s field last year and the Gold Group member looks hard to beat on paper. But a host of young up-and-comers are set to challenge her, including new Gold Group athletes Vicky Holland(GBR) who beat Hewitt in Takapuna just a few weeks ago, last year’s Mooloolaba World Cup winner Vendula Frintova (CZE) and the 2010 Junior World Champion Ashleigh Gentle (AUS). Along with Hewitt, New Zealand could score a pair on the podium with Debbie Tanner (NZL) also in contention.

Beijing Olympian and 4-time World Cup winner Kris Gemmell (NZL) will headline the men’s field. Tony Dodds (NZL), who won the ITU Oceania Cup sprint event at Kinloch earlier this year, Clayton Fettell (AUS) and Jamie Huggett (AUS) are the other contenders. But don’t be surprised if a little team work helps the Australians to invade the podium, there are 34 Aussies entered in the elite men’s field – compared to just 10 from other nations.  There are also more athletes from Christchurch in the men’s field including James Elvery,Cameron Goldsmid and Dylan McNeice.

Only athletes from the Oceania region are eligible to win the Oceania titles, but athletes from other countries are eligible to race and win prize money. This year, the Oceania championships are important as each ITU Continental Championship also carries Olympic qualifying points with it. This race could also be a glimpse of early World Cup form, as many athletes are expected to go on to compete at the first ITU World Cup of the season, in Mooloolaba, on March 26 and 27.

It’s the third time that the New Zealand capital has hosted the Oceania Championships and Wellington also hosted the 1994 ITU Triathlon World Championships.

The women’s elite race starts at 10:30am, followed by the men’s at 11:45am on Saturday, March 12. Results will be available on


2011 Wellington OTU Triathlon Oceania Championships – Elite Men

Start Number First Name Last Name Country
1 Kris Gemmell NZL NZ
2 David Matthews AUS AU
3 Martin Van Barneveld NZL NZ
4 Clark Ellice NZL NZ
5 Peter Schokman AUS AU
6 James Elvery NZL NZ
7 Jamie Huggett AUS AU
8 Tony Dodds NZL NZ
9 Drew Box AUS AU
10 Samuel Betten AUS AU
11 Aaron Royle AUS AU
12 Joshua Maeder AUS AU
14 Josh McHugh AUS AU
15 Nick Kastelein AUS AU
16 Cameron Good AUS AU
17 Jesse Featonby AUS AU
18 Ryan Fisher AUS AU
19 Anthony McSweeney AUS AU
20 Ben Allen AUS AU
21 Jeremy Drake AUS AU
22 Dylan McNeice NZL NZ
23 Bryce McMaster AUS AU
24 Clayton Fettell AUS AU
25 Peter Kerr AUS AU
26 Nicholas Hull AUS AU
27 David Mainwaring AUS AU
28 Dane Robinson AUS AU
29 Sam Speechly AUS AU
30 Chris Rawling AUS AU
32 Tim George AUS AU
33 James Davy AUS AU
34 Taylor Cecil AUS AU
35 Ben Logan NZL NZ
36 Ben Hammond AUS AU
37 Steven Worthington GBR GB
38 Cameron Goldsmid NZL NZ
39 Mitchell Robins AUS AU
40 Charlie Boyle AUS AU
41 Benjamin Wriede AUS AU
42 Kane Simpson AUS AU
43 Matt Brady AUS AU
44 James Lewin AUS AU
Start Number First Name Last Name Country
51 Andrea Hewitt NZL NZ
52 Debbie Tanner NZL NZ
54 Kate McIlroy NZL NZ
55 Sophia Amor-Smith AUS AU
56 Janine Simpson NZL NZ
57 Vicky Holland GBR GB
58 Vendula Frintova CZE CZ
59 Elizabeth May LUX LU
60 Felicity Sheedy-Ryan AUS AU
61 Ashleigh Gentle AUS AU
62 Charlotte McShane AUS AU
63 Yuko Takahashi JPN JP
64 Lisa Marangon AUS AU
65 Regina Wright AUS AU
66 Hayley Davis NZL NZ


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