|The countdown is on. Four months from now the planet’s best triathletes will gather in Hamburg, Germany, from August 30th to September 2nd, for the 2007 BG Triathlon World Championships, a pivotal qualifying event for the Beijing Olympics. |
More than 300,000 spectators are expected to line the streets of downtown Hamburg and millions of households will tune in on live German television and the live internet show to watch 150 of the world’s top triathletes battle for the title of World Champion. In addition to the pool of Elite athletes, the world championships will also play host to Junior, Under 23 and Age Group competitions. Organisers anticipate more then 8,000 competitors aged 16 to 86 from over 50 countries taking part in the three-day event. If achieved this would make the Hamburg World Championships the largest triathlon competition ever staged. Also included are categories for Athletes with a Disability (AWAD), making it one of the few sports that allow physically challenged athletes to compete at the World Championships side by side with their able-bodied counterparts.
“Triathlon has never seen anything as big as Hamburg before. It is a new landmark for our sport,” said ITU Executive Director, Loreen Barnett. “The BG Triathlon World Championships is our flagship event with thousands of athletes from around the world coming together in the spirit of competition. We are very excited to have such an exceptional group hosting the 19th running of the World Championships and are certain they will exceed all expectations and provide the best possible experience to all participants.”
In addition to the distinction of being a World Champion, the Elite athletes will compete for the valuable Olympic qualifying points at stake and the lion’s share of US$250,000 prize purse. World Championships offer twice as many points than World Cup events so making the podium in Hamburg could be a huge step closer to Beijing in 2008.
“We wish to give this triathlon World Championship both international and Olympic flair and put the people of Hamburg in the right mood for the event in its very early stages to give the approximately 8,000 athletes taking part and those accompanying them an enthusiastic welcome during the week of the World Championships”, said Frank Bertling, the managing director of the organiser, Upsolut Event GmbH.
The city of Hamburg is located in the northern territory of Germany and is home to 1.7 million people. Deemed the ‘cultural center’ of Germany, Hamburg boasts a number of museums, theatres, music halls, fine cuisine and a central shopping district with many fine shops, restaurants and cafes.