Singapore '100%' set for Super League Triathlon

Co-founder Chris McCormack also aims for Olympics to adopt league's shorter formats

Super League Triathlon co-founder Chris McCormack believes that Singapore "ticks all the boxes" to be one of the stops for the second season.
Super League Triathlon co-founder Chris McCormack believes that Singapore "ticks all the boxes" to be one of the stops for the second season. ST PHOTO: JEREMY KWAN

Singapore has yet to host its first Super League Triathlon event but has already secured a spot in the second season, said co-founder Chris McCormack yesterday.

While the calendar is not finalised, he said that Singapore, the league's headquarters, is "100 per cent one of the stops" for the TV-friendly series with modified formats and a US$1.5 million (S$2.06 million) prize purse.

"We'd like to keep it here as it's our home. I think we'll potentially outgrow our venue but, right now, it works, it ticks all the boxes," the Australian four-time world champion told The Straits Times. "I don't see (it) moving anywhere."

The series made its debut with a test event in the British isle of Jersey last year and started its first official season in September at the same location. After Malta and Mallorca comes the Feb 23-24 finale at One15 Marina on Sentosa.

It features five formats (triple mix, eliminator, equaliser, sprint enduro and enduro) in races shorter than the traditional Olympic distance of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.

The Singapore stop will see the likes of Olympic silver medallist Jonny Brownlee and Commonwealth Games champion Henri Schoeman battle it out in the eliminator and enduro formats.

The eliminator comprises three rounds of swim-bike-run, with a 10-minute break between each round. The top 15 will reach the second round, and the top 10 will make the final round.

The enduro features three continuous rounds of 300m swim, 5km bike ride and 1.6km run. The slowest duo at the end of each discipline will be eliminated.

McCormack believes the new formats make for more exciting races because it is more difficult to predict a clear winner. Spectators can watch up close and the public will also get free access to fringe activities such as the fan zone.

"(We want to) expose people to the sport and show them how remarkable (the athletes) are," he added. "We're most excited because it's the first time in Asia."

He also revealed that the league is in "very premature talks" with the International Triathlon Union, the world governing body, on the possibility of having the league's format replace the traditional format at the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.

Tokyo 2020 will see the debut of the mixed-team relay, where teams of two men and two women competing over a shorter course (300m swim, 7.4km bike ride, 2km run), which he hailed as an encouraging sign.

The 45-year-old said: "Triathlon as a governing body wants more events (at the Olympics), but there's an allocated amount of time they can take. The long event takes two hours each (for men and women), so there could potentially be four one-hour events, which is four (gold) medals."

He revealed that some national federations, such as France and Germany, are starting to use the league as qualification criteria for selecting their Olympic teams.

He added: "It shows that they're starting to identify that this racing is not only valid, but also worthy of Olympic selection."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2018, with the headline Singapore '100%' set for Super League Triathlon. Subscribe