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Challenge Wanaka attracts world-class field for 2018

Chief Correspondent
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An international field of the world’s leading long-distance triathletes will race Challenge Wanaka in New Zealand’s Southern Alps on 17 February, including four former champions, with the Kiwis racing for the prestigious national title.

Challenge Wanaka 2018 marks the return of six-time winner, Gina Crawford (NZL), who is returning to the sport following the birth of her second child. She has a stellar women’s field joining her on the start line, including three-time Challenge Wanaka runner-up, Laura Siddall (GBR) who also took second at the prestigious DATEV Challenge Roth in 2017. Annabel Luxford (AUS) is renowned for her success over the 113km distance and came second in last year’s inaugural The Championship. Amelia-Rose Watkinson (NZL) is a rising star over the half distance and has dominated the Asian circuit with 11 half distance wins and two national titles to her name. She is the current New Zealand National Champion so will want to retain her title. Meredith Hill (AUS) also returns with one pro season now under her belt, including a second at the infamous Norseman.

WANAKA, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 18: Dougal Allan competes in the 2017 Challenge Wanaka on February 18, 2017 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Photo by Neil Kerr/Getty Images)
Photo by Neil Kerr/Getty Images

Defending men’s champion, Dougal Allan (NZL) returns and will face some of the best in the sport to retain the title of his hometown race. Three-time Challenge Wanaka champion, Dylan McNeice (NZL), is returning from injury and will make the most of his strong swimming edge to ensure Allan doesn’t match his three-peat. Australia’s Luke McKenzie and Luke Bell both return. With multiple long distance victories under their belts from their respected international careers, both are contenders for the big prize, as is another hometown threat, Braden Currie (NZL). Currie has won over the half distance in Wanaka twice and holds the current 113km course record. Jan van Berkel from Switzerland rounds out the top contenders in this strong international field.

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RELATED ARTICLE: CHALLENGE WANAKA GALLERY 2017

In 2018, Challenge Wanaka hosts two New Zealand National Championshps. Challenge Wanaka Half is the Long Distance National Championships and the new Aquabike event is also a National Championships event, with eligible competitors able to qualify for a spot in both events at the ITU World Championships in Denmark in July.

WANAKA, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 18: Luke McKenzie competes in the 2017 Challenge Wanaka on February 18, 2017 in Wanaka, New Zealand. (Photo by Neil Kerr/Getty Images)
Photo by Neil Kerr/Getty Images

Challenge Wanaka is New Zealand’s largest triathlon festival with over 2,500 participants of all ages and abilities from around the world. Internationally recognised as the “World’s Most Scenic Triathlon” it features both half (1.9km swim, 90km bike, 21km run) and full (3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run) distance events for individuals and teams plus the Aquabike (3km swim, 120km bike). In addition, over 900 youngsters aged between five and 11 compete in the Puzzling World Junior Challenge Wanaka on Friday 16 February. The new Mitre 10 Secondary Schools event on Thursday 15 February, also doubles as the Otago Secondary School Triathlon Championships.

Challenge Wanaka takes place on Saturday 17 February 2018. For further information and entries, visit www.challenge-wanaka.com.

Full List of Challenge Wanaka 2018 Pro Athletes

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Male

1 – Dougal Allan (NZL)
2 – Luke Bell (AUS)
3 – Dylan McNeice (NZL)
4 – Braden Currie (NZL)
5 – Luke McKenzie (AUS)
6 – Jan van Berkel (SUI)
7 – Tony Dodds (NZL)
8 – Carl Read (NZL)
9 – Alexander Polizzi (AUS)
10 – Jarrod Harvey (AUS)
11 – Nicholas Hull (AUS)
12 – Chris Leiferman (USA)

Female

50 – Laura Siddall (GBR)
51 – Gina Crawford (NZL)
52 – Meredith Hill (NZL)
53 – Amelia-Rose Watkinson (NZL)
54 – Annabel Luxford (AUS)
55 – Laura Wood (NZL)
56 – Debbie Grieg (GBR)
57 – Karen Toulmin (NZL)
58 – Renee Kiley (AUS)

John Levison
Written by
John Levison
TRI247's Chief Correspondent, John has been involved in triathlon for well over 30 years, 15 of those writing on these pages, whilst he can also be found commentating for events across the UK.
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