Triathletes flood into the Sunshine Coast
  • Wednesday 11 March 2015
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They’re here! Hundreds of the fittest, toughest and bravest athletes from all corners of the world are limbering up on the Sunshine Coast for a mega-weekend of triathlon.

Tomorrow’s Australian Youth Championships at Twin Waters kickstarts an action packed four days.

On Friday, a World Paratriathlon Series race will be run for the first time in our region. It will involve 57 athletes from Brazil, Italy, Japan, the USA and Australia and count towards 2016 Paralympics qualification.

Then it’s onto the Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival that will attract around 6000 participants, family members and supporters from outside the Sunshine Coast.

Mayor Mark Jamieson today offered a warm welcome to all of this weekend’s visitors and said the region’s reputation as a premier major events destination was only getting stronger.

“The Sunshine Coast has a very distinguished history of successfully hosting world-class events, particularly in triathlon, and we’re ready to put on another fantastic show for our national and international visitors this weekend,” he said.

“The Mooloolaba Triathlon Festival delivered around $14.5 million to the Sunshine Coast economy last year and with the Youth Championships and World Paratriathlon also running this weekend, the benefits for local businesses and international exposure for our region will be enormous.”

Elite athletes from more than 40 countries will line up in Sunday’s Mooloolaba Triathlon, including Papua New Guinea’s Rachel Sapery James.

The 31-year-old is a pioneer for the sport in PNG and said she’s adopted the Sunshine Coast as a home away from home in her quest to make next year’s Olympic Games.

“Unfortunately it is too dangerous for me to train at home in PNG so I have come to the Sunshine Coast to try to pursue my dream of making the Rio Olympics in 2016,” she said.

“I have been here for two weeks training with the Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy and already I’ve improved my 400m  swim time by nearly 30 seconds and I’m learning and improving so much from the fantastic facilities and coaches here.”

Sunshine Coast Triathlon Academy Coach Toby Coote said Rachel was among a growing number of athletes from around the world making a bee-line for our region.

“Triathletes are coming from all corners of the world to the Sunshine Coast to not only race but also base themselves here for longer periods to train,” he said.

“Tomorrow we have a squad of triathletes from the Philippines arriving and staying here until May as part of their preparations for the 2016 Olympics.

“We also have athletes from other countries in Asia as well as Sweden and Scotland coming here regularly to train with the Academy and they absolutely love what the Sunshine Coast has to offer in terms of training facilities, coaches and climate.”

Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said local businesses could learn how to capitalise on major events by taking part in the Events+ MasterClasses in March.

“The events pot of gold is right here on the Sunshine Coast and judging by the attendances at February’s events+ MasterClasses, local businesses are keen as mustard to learn how they can benefit,” he said.

An initiative of Sunshine Coast Council and the Sunshine Coast Events Board, events+ aims to provide local businesses with the tools to leverage major and regional events.

The Sunshine Coast plays host to around 30 major and regional events each year that generate $50 million towards the region’s economy. In addition, event promoters and organisers spend approximately $2.5 million each year with local businesses which boosts the Sunshine Coast economy.

To find out more about joining the events+ campaign, contact dtb Advertising on 5458 5600 or email eventsplus@dtb.com.au.