Commonwealth Games Triathlon Selection Announcement
Selections to the New Zealand Team for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games have begun with five triathletes today formally announced to the team.
Seasoned games campaigner Andrea Hewitt is the most experienced of the athletes. The 35 year old won bronze at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and narrowly missed out on a medal in Glasgow, placing fourth. 2017 was another strong year for Hewitt who won both the ITU (International Triathlon Union) World Triathlon, Abu Dhabi and the ITU World Triathlon, Gold Coast.
29 year old Ryan Sissons is the other games veteran named to the team, having competed at London 2012, Glasgow 2014 and Rio 2016. Sissons comes off a strong season in which he won the 2017 Madrid ITU Triathlon World Cup and placed 3rd in the Hamburg WTS (World Triathlon Series).
The pair will be joined by games debutants Rebecca Spence (29 years), Nicole van der Kaay (21 years) and Tayler Reid (21 years).
After seven years in retirement Spence burst back onto the triathlon scene in 2015 and since then has produced strong results on the WTS. In 2017 she placed 4th in both the Karlovy and Tongyeong World Cup events and 11th at the WTS Abu Dhabi earlier in the year. Spence is a former Junior World Champion in cycling time trial (2006).
Van der Kaay debuted on the WTS last year with an impressive 16th placing in Mooloolaba. In 2017 she placed 4th at the WTS Karlovy in September and 6th in the Tongyeong test event in October.
Reid has also displayed strong, consistent results, this year claiming his first elite podium with a 3rd in the Karlovy World Cup in September.
The athletes were named at a selection announcement at the Avantidrome in Cambridge where several of the team train. All of the athletes will contest the individual events and 2x men and 2x women will contest the mixed team relay.
Both the individual women’s and men’s events will be a 'sprint triathlon' consisting of a 750m open water swim, 20km cycle and 5km run completed in immediate succession.
Triathlon New Zealand High Performance Director Mark Elliott says it's a great group of athletes with an excellent mixture of experience and exciting young talent.
“It's fantastic to have not only the experience of Hewitt and Sissons who have both been on the WTS for a number of years but to have youth like van der Kaay and Reid who deserve to be there and will develop their skills and potential at the event," he said.
"Spence is another exciting athlete, it's her first time selected to a games team and she's looking forward to getting stuck into training over summer."
Ryan Sissons is looking forward to his second Commonwealth Games.
“I'm extremely happy to be selected and I'm going to take the learnings I made in Glasgow and use these on the Gold Coast. A medal at the Commonwealth Games is what I'm completely focused on now," he said.
Chef de Mission Rob Waddell is pleased to be formally underway with building a team for Gold Coast 2018.
“It's great to begin selecting our team as we're now just under five months away from the Games. We’ve announced five athletes today and each of these athletes, and those to come, will have earnt the right to wear the New Zealand fern at Games time,” he said.
“Triathlon is a great announcement to begin with, it’s an intense sport and what these athletes put themselves through is incredible. We have an exciting triathlon team and we’re looking forward to a great competition on the Gold Coast”.
The triathlon will begin and finish at Southport Broadwater Parklands, set against the beautiful back drop of Gold Coast’s Broadwater and coastline.
Andrea Hewitt has competed at the Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as the Melbourne 2006 (winning bronze) and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
In 2007, Hewitt won her first World Cup in Kitzbuhel, Austria, then in 2008, placed 8th in the Olympic Games Triathlon in Beijing, China. 2009 brought consistency with 3rd overall in the World Championship Series.
Hewitt, aged 35, placed 2nd overall in the 2011 World Championship Series. The following year brought her a 6th in the London Olympic Games and bronze in the World Triathlon Series.
In 2014 Hewitt narrowly missed out on two podium spots at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, placing 4th in the individual triathlon and 5th in the mixed team event.
In 2016 she competed at the Rio Olympic Games placing 7th. Since then Hewitt’s earnt a number of significant placings and wins, most recently winning the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi and the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Gold Coast.
Ryan Sissons has competed at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games as well as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Sissons has raced on the ITU stage since 2009 and has enjoyed a strong campaign that includes two top ten performances in 2016 as well as winning the 2017 Madrid ITU Triathlon World Cup.
Ryan has twice stood on the podium with the New Zealand team at the ITU World Mixed Relay Championships (bronze 2010 and silver 2013) and was the silver medal winner in the 2010 ITU U23 Men’s World Championships.
Ryan, now aged 29, raced at the London Olympic Games placing 33rd and the Rio Olympic Games placing 17th. In the individual triathlon at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games he placed 13th and placed 5th in the mixed team relay.
After seven years in retirement Aucklander Rebecca Spence burst back onto the triathlon scene in 2015 and since then has produced strong results on the World Triathlon Series (WTS).
While breaking a collarbone in the middle of the 2017 season she nonetheless went on to place 4th in the Tongyeong, South Korea World Cup in October and had already secured an 11th at the WTS Abu Dhabi in March.
From Northcote Point in Auckland, Spence came to triathlon during her intermediate school years, after being recognised for her outstanding talent in swimming and running.
Spence, now 29 years old, won gold at the Junior World Championships in cycling time trail in 2006.
Nicole van der Kaay
Nicole van der Kaay was attracted to triathlon for its variety and capacity to absorb her boundless energy.
From an intermediate school ‘try-athlon’ day at to finishing 4th at the Karlovy 2017 World Cup in the Czech Republic this year, 21-year old van der Kaay loves what she does.
She debuted on the World Triathlon Series (WTS) in 2016 with an impressive 16th placing in Mooloolaba. In addition to the 4th place at Karlovy, in 2017 she also placed 16th at the Montreal WTS and 6th in the recent Tongyeong test event.
From Taupo, van der Kaay is studying towards a BSc in Psychology.
Tayler Reid has just concluded his biggest European season yet, which saw him produce consistently strong results throughout the World Triathlon Series (WTS) and his first elite podium with a third place in the Karolvy World Cup.
He also performed well in the 2017 Triathlon World Championships and is known to be extremely strong swimmer, being consistently in the first pack out of the water on the WTS.
Reid, who is 21 years hold, grew up in Gisborne and found himself winning age group National Triathlon Championships in Karapiro at age 11. Since then has gone from strength to strength.
While he acknowledges his World Cup bronze is his most significant result to date, he still recalls winning the secondary schools championship in his hometown where his school mates honoured him with a haka as the sporting moment he’s most proud of.
Reid is working towards a business degree part time through Massey University.