By Merryn Sherwood on 27/10/11 at 3:58 pm
Korea’s Min Ho Heo achieved a personal and Korean best at the last ITU World Cup event in Tongyeong, now he has a chance to improve that even further with his selection in Team ITU for the final world cup event this year in Auckland.
Ho Heo finished fifth in Tongyeong, beating his own personal best and previous Korean record of sixth-place, in a World Cup event. Now he’s primed to take on the world in the final ITU World Cup of 2011, along with five other athletes, with the backing of some of the world’s best support staff. In addtition to Heo, the athletes are: Mateja Simic, Aleksandr Latin, Hervé Banti, Medhi Essadiq and Ognjen Stojanovic
One of the fundamental goals of Team ITU is provide support, resources and expertise to elite athletes from developing National Federations to compete at the highest level. Members of Team ITU receive funds for travel and accommodation but most importantly, athletes have access to a world class coaching and support team. In Auckland, that includes the ITU’s Director of Development, Libby Burrell, coach Mick Delamotte (AUS), physiotherapist and trainer Teresa Schuemann (USA) and bike mechanic Dan Bricknell (AUS). It’s through this team.
In the men’s team, Heo will be joined by Estonia’s Aleksandr Latin, Monaco’s Hervé Banti, Morocco’s Mehdi Essadiq and Serbia’s Ognjen Stojanovic. This will be Latin’s fifth World Cup this year, after Mooloolaba, Ishigaki, Edmonton and Tongyeong, and the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series events in Hamburg and Yokohama. Banti could definitely be one to watch after recording his best World Cup finish this year in Edmonton, with ninth, followed by 14th place in Tongyeong just a few weeks ago.
Essadiq is a regular performer on the African ITU circuit, and has regularly competed in ITU World Cups and Dextro Energy Triathlon Series rounds in the past trhee seasons. Serbia’s Stojanovic has been identified as a talent to watch for a while now, and this year increased his workload to an impressive 11 ITU races, including World Cups in Ishigaki, Edmonton and Huatulco and series rounds in Hamburg, Beijing and Yokohama - that’s still with the Guatape and Auckland World Cups to come.
Mateja Simic, the Slovenian mother who won her nation’s first World Cup medal in Edmonton this year, is also part of the team. Simic claimed silver in that race, her first World Cup podium. She’s continued on that strong form in her last two World Cup races, with a fifth place in Huatulco and then 13th in Tongyeong.
Team ITU has already had some graduates move up the pathway from potential stars to world beaters, with alumni Lisa Norden (SWE) and Barbara Riveros Diaz (CHI). Auckland is the final World Cup race in 2011 and therefore, the final Team ITU event this year. Team ITU also competed at the Edmonton World Cup and the Mooloolaba World Cup in 2011.
For more information about Team ITU and ITU Development, please click here.