While kids are growing up, it’s common to put them in as many sports as possible to see which one sticks. A strong performer? Try dance. Loves kicking a ball around? How about football.
For those kids that enjoy hitting the pool in the summer, riding their bike to school, and running around the playground, a sport that ticks all the boxes is triathlon.
Triathlon has been gaining popularity worldwide with its appealing variety, close-knit community, and accessibility to anyone, no matter their age or skill.
In the Western Bay, this growing popularity has seen membership numbers steadily increase at Triathlon Tauranga—the region’s triathlon, duathlon and multisport club.
Triathlon Tauranga caters for novices through to elite athletes with training sessions and events held throughout the year. Popular events this year included the Generation Homes Women’s Triathlon, Eves Surfbreaker Triathlon and the Marra Sprint Triathlon. Half of the participants at these events were kids.
Many of these kids belong to Triathlon Tauranga’s Youth Squad. The programme fosters participation and growth in the sport for youth aged 6 to 19, with weekly training sessions over the summer season that help instil the fundamental skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of competing.
Triathlon Tauranga’s Events & Development Manager, Paul Miller, says that the programme provides a pathway for those youth that choose triathlon as their sport to help progress them to the highest level.
“Lots of kids in the squad are now ranking nationally, and we’ve even had members go onto become international athletes. One athlete that joined came to us after playing rugby all his life, but after getting so many head knocks, he wanted to try something new. He is now ranked 3rd in the country for under 19’s. It’s great to watch these young people develop to become strong, well-rounded athletes through the programme.”
Funding was sought from TECT last year to go towards four triathlon events and the delivery of the youth programme. With a grant of $28,000 received, the club have been able to put on a successful summer of events with over 2100 competitors attending, and the Youth Squad has now grown to over 50 active members.
TECT General Manager Wayne Werder says getting kids into sports is important for the health and wellbeing of our community.
“TECT are proud to support Triathlon Tauranga’s youth development programme, and the summer events many of the kids from the squad competed in. It’s fantastic to see young people get involved in the sport, as it’s something that will stick with them for life – keeping them active and engaged in the community.”
If you’re interested in getting your children involved in triathlons, visit www.triathlontauranga.org.nz.