By ITU Admin on 27/09/04 at 12:00 am
Gamagori, which is an annual favourite stop on the World Cup circuit, has moved from the motor boat stadium to Laguna Gamagori to test the new venue selected for the 2005 World Championships when Japan will host the event for the first time.
The new course features a 2 laps, 1500m swim in the Laguna Yacht Harbour, following by a 6 lap, 40km bike course which includes a steep 92 metre climb up to the gigantic Buddha statue. The bike course also includes some challenging, technical corners. The final 3 lap, 10km run is around the Laguna. The new course is very spectator-friendly for the thousands of spectators expected to watch the event.
ITU President Les McDonald, who selected the new venue and designed the bike course said, The bike course was intentionally designed to go around the prominent Buddha statue on the top of the hill. The Buddha statue is a symbol of peace for the people of Gamagori and is consistent with our belief that world peace is possible through all sport and particularly triathlon.
Teams from around the world have arrived in Gamagori to contest the World Cup and to test the venue for the 2005 World Championships. Germany has sent their #1 World Ranked Anja Dittmer who will be trying to solidify her position at the top. Dittmer has already won 2 World Cup titles this year (Tiszaujvaros and Hamburg) and will be looking for her triple crown. In the mens event Germany has entered Sebastien Dehmer and Steffen Justus who took the gold and silver at the 2004 Under 23 World Championships. Justus made the podium at the Salford World Cup earlier this year, while Dehmer just missed the podium at the Mazatlan World Cup. Andreas Raelert who had strong performances in both the Athens Olympic Games and the Hamburg World Cup is also someone to watch.
The Aussies are also in Gamagori in full force including Annabel Luxford, Pip Taylor and Maxine Seear world ranked 2, 3, and 4 respectively. All will be in the hunt to take over the top spot from Dittmer. Nicole Hackett, the 2000 World Champion is also returning to World Cup racing following her time off to have a family. Greg Bennett who won this event in 2002 and narrowly missed the podium at the Olympic Games is always a threat in the mens event. Bryce Quirk missed the World Cup swing through Europe after placing 2nd in Tongyeong, and is an odds on favourite to move up the World Rankings with points he earns here.
Stuart Hayes leads a strong British team into Gamagori. Hayes who is currently ranked 5th in the World has 2 podiums to his credits this year (Salford and Madrid.) Perennial favourite Andrew Johns is returning to World Cup racing following his 16th place finish at the Athens Olympic Games. Michelle Dillon and Liz Blatchford are the top British women, currently ranked 5th and 6th. Blatchford is coming off a podium finish last weekend in Madrid and is always a threat.
Japanese fans will have lots to cheer about as Akiko Sekine, who placed 12th at the Olympic Games, will be looking to repeat her podium finish at this event in 2003. Maki Shimomura, the Olympic reserve is also in good shape for the weekend race. In the mens event the young Japanese team is led by Tsukasa Hirano, the best swimmer in the circuit, who is expected to impress the crowd when he exits the water in first position. Hirokatsu Tayama who stunned the triathlon world with his thrilling swim-bike performance at the Olympic Games is also expected to perform well in front of his home-country crowd. Other Japanese athletes to watch are Machiko Nakanishi and Ai Ueda in the womens event. Among the men, keep your eye on Hiroyuki Nishiuchi, one of the best runners in the field, Junichi Yamamoto, who won last weekends ITU Makuhari Asian Cup Triathlon, and Ryosuke Yamamoto, who was Olympic substitute and will also be out to please his home-country fans and impress Japanese TV viewers.
In the coming years the World Cup events in Asia will be an important stepping stone to the Beijing Olympics Games in 2008. Kyung-Sun Yu, President of the Asian Triathlon Confederation, Chiharu Igaya (IOC), ITU Vice President and JTU President will be meeting with ITU President, Les McDonald in Gamagagori to discuss plans for future growth of the Olympic sport of Triathlon.
Find more details about this event - 2004 Gamagori ITU Triathlon World Cup