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The Championship to return to Samorin, Slovakia for three years

Venue confirmed for 'The Championship' 2018 from Challenge Family - and it's a return to Samorin, Slovakia and the x-bionic sphere

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The x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia will be the host venue for THECHAMPIONSHIP for the next three years

Second place finisher, Sebastian Kienle, summed up the debut edition of ‘The Championship‘, held by Challenge Family in Samorin, Slovakia this year as:

“To be honest, pretty much every new race that appears seems to claim it is the ‘best field ever’, the most amazing venue, the next big thing… but, it seems like in this case, I think for The Championship, that might actually be about 90% true.”

BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - JUNE 3: Lionel Sanders (C) of Canada celebrates winning with second place Sebastian Kienle of Germany (L) and third place Michael Raelert of Germany (R) The Championship Challenge Triathlon on June 3, 2017 in Bratislava, Slovakia. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for Challenge Triathlon) *** Local Caption *** Lionel Sanders; Sebastian Kienle; Michael Raelert
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for Challenge Triathlon

That was, in my opinion – and I was there – a very fair assessment. It’s also why news today that the event will be returning to the fantastic x-bionic sphere venue for 2018, is fantastic news for the sport – and a very smart move by the organisers.

Live Stream of The Championship

When the event was first announced in April 2016, Samorin was confirmed as the host venue for 2017 and 2019, with the host city for 2018 “to be announced shortly”. The race went very well from pretty much every angle, Pro and Age-Group, the venue is amazing and the feedback was excellent. Being able to build on that for 2018 and 2019 (and 2020!), allows continuity and further improvements to the race. Basically, it is 100% the correct move and I’m personally very happy that all parties have been able to make it happen. Considering it for next year? Highly recommended.

The Championship
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for Challenge Triathlon

Here are links to just some of our 2017 event coverage:

Here is the full, official press release announcing the news:

CHALLENGEFAMILY signs three-year deal to keep x-bionic® sphere as host venue for THECHAMPIONSHIP

Following the unprecedented success of the inaugural THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017, CHALLENGEFAMILY is delighted to announce that the incredible x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia will be the host venue for THECHAMPIONSHIP for the next three years.

CEO of CHALLENGEFAMILY, Zibi Szlufcik, commented: “Earlier this year, THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017 set a new standard in triathlon by announcing the best pro line-up in middle-distance history, resulting in a nail-biting race finish in both the mens and womens categories. THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017 was hailed as a massive success for athletes and spectators alike due to the superb facilities at the x-bionic® sphere, so we felt it was the right decision to keep x-bionic® sphere as the host venue.”

THECHAMPIONSHIP 2018, which will take place on the 2nd – 3rd June 2018, will adopt the same racing rules, including the popular 20m drafting rule enforced on the bike leg. “We continue to listen to athletes’ requests and we recognised that maintaining a fair race for all is an absolutely integral part of CHALLENGEFAMILY and the new legacy of THECHAMPIONSHIP, ” adds Szlufcik.

Creator of the idea behind the x-bionic® sphere, Mario Hoffmann, commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to host The Championship in Samorin again. This year’s success created a new challenge for us – to make the event even better and once again exceed your expectations with our venue. We are looking forward to see everyone at x-bionic® sphere next year, The Championship 2018 is an event you do not want to miss.”

To ensure that every triathlon enthusiast is able to get involved in the action, the event will again be live streamed on the official website. Live commentary throughout will keep the worldwide audience up to date with accurate and relevant information as the race unfolds.

Female champion of THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017, Lucy Charles (GBR), said: “I’m having a great year and winning the first ever Challenge Family The Championship is certainly a highlight of 2017, so far! From start to finish, the atmosphere at the x-bionic sphere was electric. The line-up of pros was off the scale and I am so excited that The Championship will be returning to Samorin next year.”

The course has been specifically designed so that the x-bionic® sphere forms the backdrop of the start, transition and finishing stages of the race. The majority of the run course is inside the venue grounds across a variety of different terrain including grass, asphalt, sand and gravel creating an unparalleled experience for both athletes as well as spectators.

“Following my battle with Sebastian Kienle on the run, my experience at The Championship 2017 was unreal and unmatched,” said winner of THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017, Lional Sanders. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; everything in the lead up and during The Championship 2017 – such as the 20m drafting rule – made it a good and fair race. Challenge Family and the x-bionic sphere made us all feel very welcome and I can’t wait to return next year for another head-to-head finish with Sebastian.”

Commenting on the announcement, CEO of x-bionic® sphere, Richard Ungerhofer, said: “We are absolutely delighted that CHALLENGEFAMILY has decided to return back to our x-bionic® sphere. Throughout this year’s inaugural event, it was great to see athletes from all over the globe enjoy our world-class facilities at x-bionic® sphere, and look forward to the next three years.”

Featuring a 50m outdoor pool and a 25m indoor pool, quiet surrounding roads – and the adjacent Danube river, the x-bionic® sphere offers outstanding triathlon training facilities. The all-encompassing venue also has a three-floor gym, a four-track training oval and a separate 8-lane track and field athletic oval with IAAF certification.

On the 2nd June, a portfolio of side events with number of options for friends and families traveling with athletes will take place. The anticipated middle-distance pro and age-groupers race will commence on the 3rd June.

For more information please visit:

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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