New Zealand’s Olympic triathletes are promising to put it all on the line as they compete in the Olympic debut of the mixed team relay.
Ainsley Thorpe, Nicole van der Kaay, Tayler Reid and Hayden Wilde will all contest the individual triathlon race in Tokyo, and for the first time ever at Olympic level, they’ll also compete as a team in the mixed team relay.
The new format is a thrilling four-person female and male relay race over a super sprint distance of 300m swim, 8km bike and a 2km run. The race usually lasts less than 90 minutes making for exciting viewing, with each triathlete's effort generally lasting around 20 minutes.
“We’ve got a great chance as a team,” said Wilde.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting for us, we go really well together in the relay and we’re looking forward to getting out there and nailing it.”
Wilde and teammates Tayler Reid and Ainsley Thorpe were all part of the gold winning under-23 Mixed Team Relay Worlds in 2019 and will want to repeat that success in Tokyo.
“Under-23 Worlds was a great stepping stone. Us four have raced together a lot now and we all get on really well so to compete together in Tokyo is going to be awesome,” said Thorpe.
The athletes will all also contest the individual race which consists of a 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run.
“Going into the relay you do switch focus to short, sharp and powerful training sessions and that’s exactly how those races tend to go,” said van der Kaay.
“I’m looking forward to a few specific sessions, we’re doing time trials as we continue to prepare and I’m really looking forward to competing in both disciplines and seeing what we can do.”
Van der Kaay and Reid were part of the triathlon team which won a bronze medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The men’s individual triathlon will be held on July 26th, with the women’s on July 27th. The mixed team relay will be contested on the 31st.