Spotlight will shine on Penticton during debut of Multisport World Championship in 2017

ITU Multisport World Championship will bring thousands of athletes together in Penticton in 2017

KATIE BUTTON of Victoria will be among the thousands of athletes in Penticton in 2017 for the International Triathlon Union Multisport World Championships Festival. Button is the female winner of the Cross Triathlon held on Friday.

KATIE BUTTON of Victoria will be among the thousands of athletes in Penticton in 2017 for the International Triathlon Union Multisport World Championships Festival. Button is the female winner of the Cross Triathlon held on Friday.

The 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 Saturday morning 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. Previously, the world championship races were held in separate cities on different dates.

“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.

“It is already a very known location here in America,” he continued. “I think it will maybe set a reference for athletes around the world to reconsider coming here in the future for other events.”

Penticton’s Jeff Symonds, who won the full distance of Challenge Penticton its first two years, 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.

“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 and will do the Long Distance course Sunday.

Michael Brown, executive director, Penticton 2017 Multisport World Championships Festival, said they are excited about this year and next.

“We have almost 800 athletes racing here tomorrow with the hopes of having up to 5,000 athletes in town next year,” he said. “We believe Penticton not only has the geography and topography for this amazing event, but also the people and the volunteers to support an event of this size. We’re excited to welcome the world next year.”

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit presented medals during the duathlon. Looking out of the window from his office, every few minutes he

see someone on their bike riding by, training or getting ready for one of the next events.

“I think it is good for the city to be alive with all these athletes and they are from all over the place,” he said. “I think it is exciting for the community, because this year and next year is really putting a spotlight on the community as that premier place to train, to compete or anything triathlon related. I think it is great exposure for us.”

The ITU Multisport World Championships Festival is being hosted in Denmark in 2018, then shift to Spain in 2019.