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Challenge Announces New Championship Event

It’s been years in the making, but Challenge Family finally has a championship event of their own. Announced today at the 2017 venue, “The Championship” will take place on June 3, 2017 in Samorin, Slovakia at an amazing new sports complex called x-bionic sphere.


Challenge Family CEO announces The Championship
Challenge Family CEO Zibi Szlufcik announces The Championship


Professionals will be able to qualify for the event through top performances at Challenge Family events around the world, along with top finishes at the Olympics, the World Triathlon Series, the Ironman World Championship and the Ironman 70.3 World Championship. Age group athletes will qualify through top age group finishes at all the Challenge Family races. The first qualifying race takes place this weekend at Challenge Fuerteventura.

“This is the most important announcement in the history of the Challenge Family,” said Challenge Family CEO Zibi Szlufcik. “It is a reflection of the requests from the athletes in the sport. It will be a truly inclusive event, taking place in the heart of Europe – we are almost at exactly the centre of the continent. It is a chance for us to contribute to the value of the sport.”

“This place is something special,” Szlufcik said of the host venue, the x-bionic sphere. “Mario (Hoffman, the founder) took me on a walk through the construction three years ago and I was amazed with his passion for this facility. ”

Hoffman’s vision began with an equestrian facility that has become one of the most prestigious in the world. The facility now includes swimming, gymnastics and strength training areas, with a track and soccer field coming in a few weeks. By the time all is said and done almost 30 different sports will be available at the x-bionic sphere.


Mario Hoffman, the founder of x-bionic sphere.
Mario Hoffman, the founder of x-bionic sphere.


An outdoor 50 m pool is part of the extensive sports facilities at the x-bionic sphere.
An outdoor 50 m pool is part of the extensive sports facilities at the x-bionic sphere.

Here’s the official press release from today’s press conference:

Challenge Family Announces New Championship Event

CHALLENGE FAMILY and x-bionic sphere has announced a new global half distance championship triathlon event for professional and age group triathletes.

Known as “THECHAMPIONSHIP,” the event will take place at the incredible x-bionic® sphere in Samorin, Slovakia on June 3, 2017. Jan Masek, CEO of x-bionic® sphere has promised athletes an unforgettable experience.

“x-bionic sphere may be a young venue, however everyone who has visited has been astonished by its size and remarkable facilities. Covering a total area of 1,000,000 square metres, x-bionic sphere’s facilities are unparalleled anywhere in the World, catering for professional athletes and teams from 27 Olympic sports disciplines, including triathlon,” said Masek. “We are thrilled to host The Championship and are committed to providing triathletes from across the globe with a truly unforgettable experience at x-bionic® sphere. Whether it is our spectacular training facilities, incredible race course, World-class accommodation at the x-bionic hotel or some well earned down-time relaxing at the x-bionic wellness centre, athletes will soon realize that The Championship and x-bionic sphere are setting the standard for all others to follow.”

For professional athletes, THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017 will carry a minimum €150,000 professional prize purse. A unique professional qualifying system will firstly see professional athletes able to qualify for THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017 via CHALLENGEFAMILY events worldwide.

In addition, professional athletes who finish in the top five at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, or a top three finish in the 2016 World Triathlon Series end of season rankings, 2016 ITU Long Distance Championship, 2016 Ironman World Championship or 2016 Ironman 70.3 World Championship will also receive an invitation to THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017. Challenge Samorin 2016 will carry double the qualifying slots for THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017.

Professional athlete’s qualifying at non-CHALLENGEFAMILY events will be required to validate at a CHALLENGEFAMILY event within the qualifying period, which commences at CHALLENGEFUERTEVENTURA 2016 and concludes at CHALLENGERIMINI 2017.

“At Challenge Family we’re driven by the same thing that drives our athletes: the passion to push limits, to perform at our best and to enjoy what we do in style. The Championship embodies this and it is our goal to set the new standard in triathlon,” said Zibi Szlufcik, CEO of CHALLENGEFAMILY.

“A World-class team has been assembled to deliver The Championship and, true to our commitment to inclusiveness, we are thrilled to bring together all Challenge Family events into our worldwide qualifying system and celebrate the success of Challenge Family professional and age group athletes from all four corners of the globe.”

Age group athletes will have the opportunity to qualify with a top five age group finish at any

CHALLENGEFAMILY event worldwide during the qualification period. Top 3 teams in the male, female and mixed categories in relay events will qualify for THECHAMPIONSHIP at CHALLENGEFAMILY events.

To celebrate the elite performance of qualifying athletes but maintain CHALLENGEFAMILY’s commitment to inclusiveness, three hundred loyalty slots are available to any age group athlete who participates in at least four CHALLENGEFAMILY events within the qualification period. Loyalty spots are awarded on a first come, first served basis for athletes who meet the minimum participation criteria. Loyalty slots are not dependent on an athlete’s race time or finish position at any of the minimum four CHALLENGEFAMILY events. 

THECHAMPIONSHIP comprises a 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21.1km run and is to be an annual CHALLENGEFAMILY event. The 2017 and 2019 editions of THECHAMPIONSHIP will be held at x-bionic sphere, with the 2018 host city to be announced shortly.

Additional information about THECHAMPIONSHIP 2017 will be available on the event website www.thechampionship2017.com.

Pro triathlete Filip Ospaly, Challenge Family CEO Zibi Szlufcik, x-bionic sphere CEO Jan Masek and founder Mario Hoffman.
Pro triathlete Filip Ospaly, Challenge Family CEO Zibi Szlufcik, x-bionic sphere CEO Jan Masek and founder Mario Hoffman.