by ITU Admin on 31 Oct, 2006 12:00


When BG Group announced its nine year partnership with ITU at the 2006 Madrid World Cup Race in June, the employees of BG Group did not know exactly what they were in for.  While many sponsors donate money, BG Group’s vision of their involvement in ITU was much deeper and more comprehensive.  Athletes and coaches are already benefiting from the BG Group talent ID programs being run around the world.  ITU elite athletes have benefited already from their increased pay-checks.  Now BG Group’s actual employees are getting into the act. 

Next week at the ITU Corporate Team Triathlon World Championships, three BG Group Teams from six offices and three continents will be taking part in the Cancun Sports Festival.  “BG Group have entered three incredibly talented teams in the World Corporate Championships” said ITU race commentator Barrie Shepley. 

BG Group have picked some of the most talented age group athletes in their company and they three teams will certainly be major threats to be on or near the podium in the Nov 4th World Corporate Championships.


Three extremely strong athletes in Gael Duchenne, Leigh Thomas and Silvio Feliciano will be representing BG Group in the Team Triathlon event. Gael Duchenne is a company Secretariat assistant based at BG Groups headquarters in Reading, UK but originally hails from Mauritius. The 27 year represented Mauritius at the 1997 and 1998 Swimming World Championships in 200m freestyle and has been a swimming Olympic scholar from the age of 16 years old… He is also a member of the BG Group running club and has completed two triathlons since taking up the sport at the beginning of the year.

Leigh Thomas, also based in Reading, is a 33 year old strategy analyst who has competed in numerous triathlons and ironman competitions. He is a strong advocate of the principles of ‘work life balance’’ and ‘healthy body, healthy mind and feels that attending the symposium will not only strengthen these views but give him skills to help actively encourage his colleagues to take as much exercise as possible.  Having hired his own triathlon coach, Leighs passion for the sport is obvious. The main aspect of racing he enjoys is the general support, camaraderie and mutual respect between athletes despite the individual and competitive nature of the event.  As he says, “it’s more than just a sport, it’s a lifestyle”.

Silvio Feliciano is a 38 year old business consultant who works for Comgas, Brazils largest gas distribution company in which BG Group has a controlling stake. Silvio has competed at World Championship Duathlon and International Triathlon level for the past eight years and is looking forward to sharing his experiences, meeting new people, learning new cultures and especially contributing to the team.  He says “I consider myself lucky that I am able to help support the development of youth sport in Brazil. The experiences I will gain from this event will assist in my work in giving children in my community positive experiences from participating in sport and provide them with a sense of responsibility”.

BG GROUP Triathlon Relay Squad One Focused on the Podium

Danielle Coghill, Dario Arias and Andre Giesbers make up BG Groups first squad for the Triathlon Relay. Hitting the water will be Danielle, a 24 year old paralegal from BG Groups headquarters in Reading, UK. Having swum competitively since the age of 11, she has represented her school, university, club and county. Her greatest achievement is winning a bronze medal for Midlands district at the UK National Swimming Championships.

39 year old Dario Arias, a legal counsel, will represent BG Groups Bolivian office in the bike leg. Having grown up on a ranch he has always led an active lifestyle and is planning a cycle race next year, starting from a local village at 800m above sea level to the city of Chacaltaya, 5,200m above sea level. Triathlon is not yet well known in Bolivia and Dario hopes that the experiences he will gain from attending the symposium and competing in the championships will allow him transfer his ideas and techniques amongst colleagues and newcomers to the sport.

Andre Giesbers is a Commercial & Marketing Manager based in BG Groups Calgary office in Canada. The 49 year old is a youth soccer coach and also started the BG Canada Fitness Adventure. Attending the symposium will provide him with additional knowledge that he can apply to his volunteer work. He says commitment to health and fitness is important at any age and to have the skills to promote this is priceless.

A SECOND BG GROUP Triathlon Relay Squad Looks Like a Major Threat to Challenge for Gold

The second relay team hails from BG Group offices in Italy, England and Northern Ireland. Elizabeth Piras Trombi, a 36 year old receptionist at BG Groups Milan office will complete the swim leg. She is an Italian fin swimming champion and regular aquathlon competitor. Elizabeth believes triathlon is the most complete sport in the world and is proud of the BG partnership with the ITU. She says “triathlon reinforces your legs and endurance by cycling, your arms and abdominals by swimming, your breath and mind by running.”

Geoff Sittlington, a 36 year old lead operations technician from Northern Ireland, will cover the bike stage. He leads an active outdoor life having already completed six marathons and a triathlon and is honoured to represent and promote BG Group on the international stage.

Tonya Walton, 24, is Assistant to the Manager of the Chief Executives office in Reading, UK. An all round competitor, Tonya regularly participates in tennis, cycling, climbing, canoeing, snowboarding and running.  She is dedicated to being the best and giving everything to maximize the potential of a team. She believes that this ethos is what allows BG Group to deliver results at the top of its field and being a member of the team would allow her to implement and promote this ethos to great effect. She says “never one to refuse a challenge, I am extremely competitive and would relish the opportunity to hone new skills and techniques to optimise my contribution to the team’s success”.

Gael Duchenne, Mauritius Leigh Thomas, UK Silvio Feliciano, Brazil

Danielle Coghill, UK Dario Arias, Bolivia Andre Giesbers, Canada

Elizabeth Piras Trombi, Italy Geoff Sittlington, N.Ireland Tonya Walton, UK

Article tags itu sponsor team triathlon
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