ITU President’s Greeting

ITU President’s Greeting

By ITU Admin on 30/04/06 at 12:00 am

Greetings to the athletes, officials and the warm friendly friends and spectators assembled for the ITU World Cup in Richards Bay.

Or, in the ancient and fascinating language of Xosa, (full of clicks and glottal stops, a bit like triathlon!) “uMhlathuze”. 

Richards Bay will be a fine event. ITU was a staunch supporter in the campaign to end apartheid and to free Nelson Mandela.  Our first International event was the World Duathlon championships in Pretoria, under the auspices of the South African National Olympic Committee and its President Sam Ramsamy.

Richards Bay ITU World Cup will bring our multi-sport phenomena to new heights of excellence and participation, with inclusion of triathletes world-wide, thanks to the organizing committee led by Casper Kriel, with support from the South African Federation, and the African Triathlon Union (ATU) led by Liezbeth Stoltz, the President and ITU Executive Board member.

Sport has played an integral role in the history of South Africa, almost from its creation, and is still recognized world-wide for the continued production of super competitors in rugby, cricket, athletics, swimming and of course triathlon.

ITU has had the good fortune to have inherited one such charming coach, Libby Burrell.  She left her homeland some 5 years ago to work for the US Federation, and helped produce some of the finest triathletes world-wide. Libby has returned to her roots, back to the land of the “Old Transvaal” and is now committed to create a new wave of triathletes in Africa under the auspices of ITU.  She is arguably the most outstanding coach in the charismatic world of triathlon. Besides she has a deep affection for all our athletes and loves them more than anyone or anything else, including herself.

ITU has received from the IOC permission for another 10 athletes to go to Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.  We have launched a campaign in Western Asia and in Africa to try and qualify athletes to take advantage of these 5 men and 5 women additional places.  My dream is to produce the equivalent of a Maria Motola of triathlon in Africa, who would energize prospective athletes to embrace our sport and the unique principles of Olympism: sport without racism, religion or political bigotry.
A letter I received this week from the President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, says it all: “I commend you on your efforts and enthusiasm to energize the developing continents to embrace Triathlon and the Olympic Movement at large.”

We have commenced this season following that dream with two World Cups in the Arab world, Doha in Qatar and Aqaba in Jordan. Now, it is Africa’s turn - in Richards Bay!

Let’s just do it.  Regards, Les

Find more details about this event - 2006 Richards Bay BG Triathlon World Cup

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