ITU&BG Launch Sport Development

ITU&BG Launch Sport Development

By ITU Admin on 01/09/06 at 12:00 am

ITU and BG Group Launch Programme For Global Triathlon Growth

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) today unveiled the first phase of a new global triathlon development programme to enhance the growth of the sport worldwide.  The plans are the first steps of a development pipeline aimed at developing junior athletes, increasing coaching standards and supporting elite athletes at Olympic qualifying events. The initiatives are the BG Triathlon World Cup Wild Card Programme, Continental development camps and increased coach education and resources.  The plans are a component of the ITUs new sponsorship by global natural gas company BG Group which was announced at the Madrid BG Triathlon World Cup in June 2006. 

The new development plans support the ITUs long term objectives of strengthening its network of national federations whilst establishing new federations to broaden the sports geographical reach. Former USA Triathlon National Team Director and former Republic of South Africa Olympic Coach Libby Burrell was recently appointed by the ITU to lead the development initiative.

Les McDonald, President of the ITU said:

Triathlon is one of the worlds fastest growing Olympic sports.  The ITU is committed to ensuring that we sustain and further this growth by working with national federations, Olympic Solidarity and our sponsors to establish solid foundations for the development of athletes around the world.

Whilst attention is predominantly focussed on countries and their athletes with emerging federations and talent pools, our development plans will benefit all federations, athletes and coaches around the world.  We are thrilled that with the support of our global partner BG Group, we are able to put these long term initiatives in place.

Charles Bland, Executive Vice President, BG Group said:

This development programme is an integral aspect of our partnership with the ITU.  The initiatives will support many athletes who might otherwise have been unable to participate at world class competitions.  It also ensures that talented juniors receive access to coaching and that we encourage the sharing of resources and new techniques amongst international coaches.  We are proud to be able to work with the ITU and contribute to the long term development of the sport.

The BG Triathlon World Cup Wild Card Programme provides elite athletes from emerging and developing countries who are regarded as Olympic prospects for 2008, with the opportunity to travel to and compete in world cup events and benefit from coaching, medical and technical support.  Each year, there will be four designated BG Triathlon World Cup events where wild card positions will be allocated with ten places for each event split evenly between men and women.  The first wild card event will be on 24th September at the Beijing BG Triathlon World Cup.

Continental development camps are five eight-day regional camps and one world junior camp.  The first camp took place in Hungary last week and saw 31 athletes from 14 countries around the world gain experience from an expert panel of six international coaches including the likes of triathlete Brad Bevan from Australia. 

Fernando de Lima Furriela Perrera, a Brazilian athlete who attended the Hungary camp said:

The BG Triathlon World Junior Camp is a great opportunity to train with athletes from around the world and to build new relationships with experienced mentors, ITU coordinators, national coaches and new triathlon friends from around the world.

I just love spending every day with other top junior triathletes that have the same objective in the sport as I have and hopefully I will be able to put all these lessons into practice at the World Championships in Lausanne this weekend and future international competitions.

The introduction of increased coach education and resources will support the growth of the sport at grass roots, helping to train new coaches, school teachers and local club organisers.  The first phase includes the creation of a coach education system with courses and publications designed specifically for the sport of triathlon. 

- Ends -

BG Triathlon World Cup Wild Card Programme
Each year, there will be four designated BG Triathlon Wild Card events with five places for women and five for the men.  Following a successful application by a national federation, chosen athletes will be able to attend the events with their national federation coach giving them vital experience at BG Triathlon World Cup level.

Continental Development Camps
Each year, there will be five eight-day camps in Africa, Asia, Pan America, Oceania and Europe, as well as one world camp.  Up to 40 developing athletes aged between 15 and 23 will benefit from coaching from coaches who will be selected by the ITU and the relevant national federation. 

Coach Education and Resources
Novice and intermediate coaches will have the opportunity to take part in the ITU national level 1 course and gain accreditation from the ITU.  National federations which already operate their own coaching system will also be eligible to apply for accreditation once submission of their own course material has been approved by the ITU.  The coach resources will help increase the number of accredited coaches and ensure the quality of teaching is strengthened across the world.

About International Triathlon Union
The International Triathlon Union was founded in 1989 in Avignon, France and now has over 100 affiliated national federations around the world.  Triathlon was awarded Olympic status in 1994 and the ITU is the youngest International Federation in the Olympics.  For further information visit www.triathlon.org

About BG Group
BG Group is a global natural gas business.  Active on five continents in over 20 countries, it operates four business segments - Exploration and Production, LNG, Transmission and Distribution and Power.
BG Group seeks to support social and economic development in the communities where it does business by providing structured funding for community initiatives that match its skills transfer theme.  For more information, visit www.bg-group.com

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