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18 June, 2021

Trans-Tasman Rivalry in Port

THE rivalry of athletes from either side of the ‘Ditch’ is as a good as any on the planet.


Having competed many times myself as a runner, on the track, the road and cross country in Aotearoa, I know just how determined the Kiwis are.

It was a special feeling to be back in amongst the buzz of race day with these super humans, all on the physical limit after their months of early mornings in the pool, hours on the bike and ‘eyeballs out’ training sessions on the track.

There’s something special but quite nerve racking about the ripples of applause from the crowd and occasional shouts of support from teammates and coaches, trying to squeeze a few more ounces of energy from their athletes.

Well, it all came to Port Douglas last Saturday, as the town played host to more than 100 Olympic triathlon hopefuls and support staff from both Australia and New Zealand.

The battle was always bound to be fierce, but there was much more at stake than just Trans-Tasman competitiveness, as this event was the final opportunity for athletes to accrue points towards their Olympic qualification ranking.

Like the recent Cairns Ironman event, the standard triathlon distance is extremely challenging.

These super fit guys and girls do not hang around for the 1500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike ride and 10-kilometre run. Try running a kilometre and compare it to pace these guys go over 10 kilometres, you’ll be amazed! Then, of course, add a swim and bike ride.

Like all elite athlete sporting events, preparation and acclimatisation is key.

The pandemic has made such groundwork more of a challenge, so the Douglas Shire climate was a great opportunity to get a taste of the conditions expected in Tokyo this July.

Now just in case you thought it was time for a quiet weekend, sipping vino and munching nibbles on the beach, well think again, as last week’s Oceania Standard Distance Championship will be followed, next Saturday, by a Paralympic racing event and the 2021 Oceania Sprint Cup. This shorter fixture will once again hear the starters gun at Port Douglas Esplanade from 8AM.

Time for a breather I think, so for now this is Gazza signing out.

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You can catch up with Gazza each weekday afternoon between 4 – 7 pm on 90.9 FAB FM in Port Douglas.

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