The first ever Multisport World Championships Festival coming to Penticton in 2017 is unique in the history of the International Triathlon Union.
That’s what Eric Angstadt, manager of multisport for the ITU, said on Aug. 27 during a press conference in the Barking Parrot at the Lakeside Resort and Casino.
“It’s bringing together all the multisport world championships together, giving a unique experience to the athletes and being able to participate in more than one in a set time frame,” said Angstadt.
It will be the inaugural championship for Duathlon, Aquathlon, Cross Triathlon and Long Distance, the ITU reports, with the late addition of the Aqua Bike.
“It’s a great opportunity for the host city to showcase the region,” said Angstadt, adding that Penticton beat out cities in Denmark, Japan, Poland and Spain for the right to host. “I think it’s really exciting to offer this to the athlete experience, which is what it’s really all about.”
Angstadt is impressed with Penticton and said this can make a big difference where there is “condensed and concentrated passion, the outcome can be very good.”
“The location is superb. As ITU, we’re very happy to have it here for the first time,” he said. “It will be a reference in the future so that we can even encourage other organizers to match the level that I think will be reached here.
Angstadt said Penticton is already a well known location and that he hopes hosting the world championships (Aug. 18-27, 2017) will have athletes considering coming to the city for other events in the future.
Challenge Penticton issued a press release stating the international significance of Penticton 2017 means the region will welcome up to 7,000 athletes, spectators, media and members of the global triathlon family. The economic benefit to the region is expected to be in the millions.
“Penticton is special because of the long history of triathlon with the community. The people and the tradition of volunteerism in and support of sport,” said president of Triathlon Canada Les Pereira. “We are very proud to be the first country to host this event. The sport of triathlon has its roots deeply entrenched in North America and much of it’s soul is in Canada.”
Penticton’s Jeff Symonds, who won the full distance of Challenge Penticton its first two years and the Long Course on Sunday, said everything for next year is on track. With all the events, he sees momentum building. Symonds also said the athletes are loving it, especially because there are options for what they can do. (read/see video:Penticton triathletes win Challenge Penticton long course)
“There is all these different events. Depending on what their specialty is, or what their training and life might allow, there is something for them,” said Symonds, who won the Aquathlon on Thursday.
Michael Brown, executive director, Penticton 2017 Multisport World Championships Festival, said they are looking forward to next year.
“We are tremendously excited about the Canadian Multisport National Championships,” said Brown in the release. “We’ve had excellent feedback during the test event that will provide us with the tools to create a world-class event next August. The magnitude of this event will cement the region’s reputation as a premier global destination for training and racing.”
Brown said they believe Penticton not only has the geography and topography for this amazing event, but the people and the volunteers to support an event of this size.
The four world championship races were previously hosted in separate cities on different dates; however, the ITU – the sport’s governing body – brought all disciplines into a single venue to create a more exciting event. Additionally, the World Championship event Aquabike will be contested for the first time next August.
“For the first time, athletes can compete in more than one Multisport World Championship race in one convenient location. We’ve had a great response from age group athletes,” said ITU president and International Olympic Committee member Marisol Casado. “Penticton will set the stage for the future of the event. We are very confident in the team’s ability to deliver an exceptional experience that will set the bar of this festival very high.”
The ITU Multisport World Championships Festival is being hosted in Denmark in 2018, then shifts to Spain in 2019.