Press Release: Triathlon New Zealand (on behalf of ITU).
10 April 2008.
Ishigaki, Japan - The longest running world cup in ITU history will be staged this Sunday in Ishigaki, the southern most city in Japan. A tough course in hot humid conditions will offer athletes a similar setting to the Olympic venue in Beijing. Many top athletes have traveled to Japan for this year's Ishigaki BG Triathlon World Cup including Australian Emma Snowsill who won the season opener in her home country two weeks ago. The three-time world champion is expected to clash with New Zealand's Debbie Tanner for gold, two of the premiere runners in the sport. Japanese fans will be cheering a large home team that includes double Olympian Kiyomi Niwata and Juri Ide who's coming off a top ten performance at the highly competitive Mooloolaba BG Triathlon World Cup.
A stellar men's field will tackle the demanding Ishigaki course after the women's race. Expected to challenge for the podium are a host of world, Olympic and European champions including Canadian Simon Whitfield and Frederic Belaubre, who both make their 2008 debuts this Sunday, Tim Don of Great Britain and Kiwi Kris Gemmell, who took bronze here last year. The locals will be pulling for Hirokatsu Tayama who last year broke through to become the first Japanese triathlete to ever win a world cup.
Valuable ITU Olympic qualifying points will be on the line along with a $100,000 USD prize purse. The race will be standard Olympic distance: 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run.