Triathlon Ireland aim to qualify four triathletes for Rio 2016
Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the country according to the latest Triathlon Ireland figures, which show a 20% increase in membership numbers in 2012 to 7,340. Membership numbers have increased over 800% since 2005. In just five years, the number of sanctioned events and clubs across the country has grown from 74 events and 24 clubs in 2007, to 168 events and 71 clubs in 2012.
To date, men have dominated the sport in Ireland, with a 70:30 male to female participant ratio. There has however been a significant increase in interest from female triathletes in recent years, a trend which is set to continue.
Those most likely to complete a triathlon are between the ages of 35 and 39, with 24 percent of members falling in to that age category. This is followed closely by 21 percent between the ages of 30 and 34, 19% between the ages of 40 and 44 and a noteworthy 8 percent over the age of 50. Just 5% of members where U18 in 2012 however the number of juniors taking part in triathlons is set to radically increase with clubs across the country starting to cater for junior members and Triathlon Ireland launching a number of initiatives catering for juniors.
2012 saw a number of well-known sportspersons and personalities competiting in triathlon events in Ireland. Formula 1 legend Jenson Button competed in TriAthy, finishing in an impressive seventh place. Other sporting legends included Fionnuala Britton, Sonia O’Sullivan, David Gillick and London 2012 Olympians, Annalise Murphy, Scott Flanagan and Scott Evans. A number of Irish celebrities also took on the triathlon challenge, including Keith Duffy, Rosanna Davison, Kathryn Thomas and Matt Cooper.
In 2012 Triathlon Ireland reached a number of significant milestones. Gavin Noble became the first ever Irish male triathlete to compete at the Olympic Games, while Aileen Morrison had the best ever finish in the World Triathlon Series in Madrid. Ireland’s first ever Para Triathlon National Championships took place in Athlone in June, marking a significant step in the development of triathlon sport in Ireland. Triathlon Ireland also hosted it’s first ever Youth National Championships which attached close to 200 8 to 15 year olds who are keen to complete move events in 2013.
Matt McKerrow, CEO of Triathlon Ireland commented:
“2012 has been a hugely successful year for Triathlon Ireland. The qualification of two triathletes to the London Olympic Games was a great achievement for the organisation and it leaves us with an achievable challenge ahead as we strive to qualify twice that number for Rio 2016.”
“We have had 40 top ten finishes at the Continental Cup, World Cup and World Triathlon Series Races since January 2010. We have also had eight members of the youth and junior national squad (aged 14 – 19) benchmarked off a world standard, so we are very confident we will achieve our targets for both the Youth Olympic Games 2014 and Rio 2016.”