The International Triathlon Union (ITU) is in St. Kitts & Nevis this week to bolster its bid for the Triathlon Mixed Relay to be included in the Commonwealth Games. A formal bid was submitted in September but the ITU will be at the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly to present the dynamic event to the Sports Committee, Executive Board and 71 member Commonwealth Games Associations.
Representing the ITU in St. Kitts & Nevis is Global Projects Director Brian Mahony. The Commonwealth Games Federation’s Sport Committee, led by President-elect of the CGF HRH Prince Imran of Malaysia, will make its recommendation to the Executive Board and Commonwealth Games Associations on whether the exciting Triathlon Mixed Relay will be included on the list of approved programme disciplines.
If approved by the CGF, ITU will present to the Glasgow 2014 Board for Triathlon Mixed Relay’s inclusion in the 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games between July 23 and August 3, 2014.
The Triathlon Mixed Relay consists of four athletes: two men and two women, who each complete a short, intense triathlon of a 250m swim, 5km bike and 1.2km run in the order woman, man, woman, man. The new format has enjoyed phenomenal success since the discipline changed from the original single sex team format in 2009. The recent World Championships boasted its largest field ever, with representation from all five continents.
According to research agency IFM, the recent Triathlon Mixed Relay World Championships in the Olympic city of Lausanne-where Great Britain’s “Dream Team” cruised to gold-had over 571 million TV contacts, with over 93 hours of airtime and 253 broadcasts.
Major public broadcasters have shown their support for the event, including British public broadcaster BBC, which aired 75 minutes of race action on BBC 2 on 21 August 21. German broadcasting giant ARD also showed over two hours of live coverage, plus repeated highlights of the event.
Michael Cole, BBC Triathlon Editor commented: “The Triathlon Mixed Relay event in Lausanne was a new style of triathlon for BBC and it worked really well for us. Being able to see more athletes in a shorter race made a fast and exciting event for TV. The relay changeovers and swinging fortunes for the teams as their stronger athletes took over from weaker ones made for a very interesting TV programme.”
ITU is hopeful its bid for inclusion to Glasgow 2014 will be successful considering the rapidly growing popularity of the sport and the broadcast success. The additional cost of Triathlon Mixed Relay to the programme of any Games already hosting triathlon is minimal as the same venue can be reused and no extra athletes are required.
Earlier this year, the Triathlon Mixed Relay was accepted onto the programme of the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. The recent successes are also seen as a boost for ITU’s quest to get the Triathlon Mixed Relay event into the Olympic Games beginning with Rio 2016. Increasing the TV exposure and popularity of the format are key strategic goals for the federation.
The host city for the 2018 Commonwealth Games will be also decided by member nations at the CGF’s General Assembly in St. Kitts & Nevis on 11 November 2011.
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