By ITU Admin on 07/06/08 at 12:00 am
Portugal’s Vanessa Fernandes is the red hot favourite to win her second world championships in Vancouver on Sunday having dominated the sport in the past two years. The 22-year old has won a record 20 world cups and is a five-time European Champion.
Competition arrives from Australia in the form of 2006 under23 world champion Erin Densham and New Plymouth World Cup winner and last year’s world number two Emma Moffatt. While New Zealand sends a powerful team including Samantha Warriner who came from behind to win last year’s test event. She has been in British Columbia for the past few weeks training with good friend Jill Savege of Canada. The Beijing bound Warriner already has a world cup win after taking the Tongyeong title in South Korea. The Kiwi contingent also includes the rest of its Olympic team, Debbie Tanner and Andrea Hewitt.
The home team Canada will have four contenders including local favourite Lauren Groves who will have plenty of support as the only Vancouver native on the elite national team. With a short hop from the island, Kirsten Sweetland, the 2006 junior world champion will be gunning for a big result as her Olympic hopes rest on the race. Same goes for her teammates Kathy Tremblay and Carolyn Murray. All need a top-8 for an automatic spot on the Canadian Olympic team, to join Groves who has already been nominated to the team.
Canada’s neighbours from the south, the United States, have also sent a fully loaded squad including Laura Bennett who took bronze behind Fernandes in Hamburg last year. As a four-time world championships medallist, Bennett is proven performer on the big stage and will look to get on the podium for a fifth time. Also wearing the red white and blue is Julie Ertel, winner of the U.S. Olympic trials and Sarah Haskins, who finished runner-up to Warriner here last year.
Sweden’s Lisa Norden has been one of the breakthrough successes from the Team BG Scholarship programme as she has collected two world cup medals in 2008 and a bronze medal at the European championships. She was crowned under23 World Champion last year and will look to make the podium in her elite debut.
The 2004 Olympic champion Kate Allen from Austria is also here and needs a solid race to earn Olympic points. The world championship is the final event in ITU’s 2-year Olympic qualifying period. Currently Austria is on the bubble to send a full team of three and is trying to chase down France in the Olympic rankings.
Vanessa Fernandes savours her first world championship last year in Hamburg
Find more details about this event - 2008 Vancouver BG Triathlon World Championships