By Merryn Sherwood on 17/01/12 at 12:31 am
The Team ITU programme will have an added Olympic boost in 2012, with the two ITU World Cup events selected within the Olympic qualifying period.
The primary objective of the development programme is to provide support, resources and expertise to athletes from emerging and developing National Federations, who have the potential to qualify for London 2012, to compete at a World Cup level.
This year the first Team ITU event will be the 2012 Mooloolaba World Cup, in Australia on March 25th. The next is the 2012 Huatulco World Cup, in Mexico on May 6th. The points gathered from both go directly towards athletes’ qualifying totals for London, as the the official Olympic qualifying period doesn’t close until 31 May 2012.
“Since the inception of the Team ITU project in 2006, athletes and coaches alike place a high value on the benefit the on-site support (coaches, physiotherapists and bike mechanics) in terms of their performance. ITU is excited to be able to continue with this programme in this very important Olympic year,” said Libby Burrell, Director of ITU Development. “The team will target prospective Olympic participants from the developing and emerging nations.”
The support includes a travel stipend, accommodation and meals as well as the priceless support of a world class coaching team, including specialised triathlon coaches, physiotherapists and bike technicians.
Developing NFs may nominate a maximum of 2 men and 2 women. The application deadline for Mooloolaba is Februrary 6 and the deadline for Huatulco is March 30. Click here more information, including application forms.
“Post London 2012, the new phase of Team ITU will begin with the World Junior and U23 Camp in Auckland, New Zealand where a new crop of talented athletes will have the opportunity to be noticed by the ITU coaches and the march towards Rio 2016 will begin,” said Burrell.
Team ITU celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2011 with a blockbuster year. The programme has helped names like Sweden’s Lisa Norden, Chile’s Barbara Riveros Diaz and South Africa’s Kate Roberts find their feet on the elite circuit quickly. Norden and Riveros Diaz are now ITU World Champions, after capturing the sprint world titles in 2010 and 2011 respectively. It also has a record of meeting its Olympic goals, all four of the programme’s very first athletes back in 2006 – Mari Rabie, Flora Duffy, Roberts and Norden – all competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
In 2011 the programme continued to grow as it supported athletes from Slovenia, Colombia, Estonia, Monaco, Morocco, Korea, Serbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Israel, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Barbados at three different World Cup events, Mooloolaba, Edmonton and Auckland.
Slovenia’s Mateja Simic was just one of the success stories in 2011, with her silver medal from the 2011 Edmonton World Cup the first medal for Slovenia at that level, and she is on track to be the first Slovenian triathlete to qualify for the Olympic Games.