A strong team of New Zealand’s elite triathletes have been selected to the New Zealand Team to compete at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The athletes heading to Birmingham are:
- Nicole van der Kaay, Women’s Individual Triathlon & Mixed Team Relay (Tri Sport Taupo / Taupo)
- Ainsley Thorpe, Women’s Individual Triathlon & Mixed Team Relay (Cambridge)
- Andrea Hansen (nèe Hewitt), Women’s Individual Triathlon & Mixed Team Relay (Canterbury Triathlon Club / Christchurch)
- Tayler Reid, Men’s Individual Triathlon & Mixed Team Relay (Eastland Triathlon & Multisport Club / Gisborne)
- Hayden Wilde, Men’s Individual Triathlon & Mixed Team Relay (Eastern Bay Multisport & Triathlon Club / Whakatane)
- Dylan McCullough, Men’s Individual Triathlon & Mixed Team Relay (Auckland)
All six athletes will compete individually in the Men’s and Women’s Olympic distance race, which consists of a 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run. Once they have competed in the individual, a team of four will be named to compete as a team at the Mixed Team Relay, known as the MTR or MR. This exciting format for the world of triathlon 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.
Olympic Bronze medallist Hayden Wilde from Whakatane, has carried on his impressive performance since the Games, with a World Champion Xterra title, a second place in the Triathlon Super League, a win at the Singapore Arena Games in May and most recently claimed a silver medal at the Yokohama World Triathlon.
Above: Tayler Reid
Wilde and his fellow Olympic teammates, Tayler Reid, Ainsley Thorpe and Nicole van der Kaay will be joining him in this Commonwealth Games team, alongside 40-year-old Andrea Hansen (nèe Hewitt) the multiple Olympian and Commonwealth Games medallist, and Dylan McCullough from Auckland.
“I’ve been working towards this but it’s still a bit of a surprise to be named,” said Hansen.
“I didn’t know how I’d recover after having my daughter Flossie 15-months ago, so I’ve feeling very lucky to be back for my fourth Commonwealth Games.”
Alongside Hansen, Tayler Reid from Gisborne and Nicole van der Kaay from Taupo, already have an impressive Commonwealth bronze medal from their previous performance at the MTR event in 2018 on the Gold Coast.
“I am stoked to be chosen for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games team,” commented Reid from France.
“The Gold Coast was an awesome experience and I want to improve on my achievements. I believe we are bringing a super strong team and should be on the hunt for medals in the individual and Mixed Relay. Looking forward to heading to the home of the Peaky Blinders.”
Tokyo Olympian Ainsley Thorpe from Cambridge says she can't wait for her first Commonwealth Games.
“I’m super excited to be selected to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games. I'm looking forward to my overseas campaign in the lead up to the Games alongside my teammates".
Nicole van der Kaay from Taupo, who placed won silver at the World Triathlon Championship Series in Hamburg in the Elite Women’s race at the end of 2021, is thrilled to be returning to racing in Europe.
“I'm super proud and excited to represent New Zealand in the triathlon for the Commonwealth Games. It’s always an honor it suit up in our colours, knowing New Zealand is backing us! Go the kiwis.”
2018 Youth Olympic champion Dylan McCullough says he'll be putting all his energy into chasing a top result at the Games.
"My coach John Hellemans and I have set a good plan, which includes a training camp in Spain and a few build up races before the games to make sure I go into the race at 100%," said McCullough.
“I am really looking forward to soaking up the whole Commonwealth Games experience. I have just turned 21 and the Commonwealth Games is something that most New Zealand school kids learn about at some stage during their schooling. I remember doing a project on the Commonwealth Games in Primary school, so to get the opportunity to represent New Zealand now in Birmingham is a very special feeling.
"It's an honour and privilege to be able represent your country and something that not many people get the chance to do. I am looking forward to pulling on my New Zealand Trisuit and competing to the best of my ability.”
NZOC CEO Nicki Nicol extended her congratulations to the athletes.
"Well done to the six athletes named today. New Zealand has a proud legacy in triathlon at the Commonwealth Games and we look forward to these athletes adding to that history in several months time."
The Triathlon New Zealand Reserve athletes are Olivia Thornbury and Trent Thorpe.
The naming takes the total number of athletes currently selected to the New Zealand Team for Birmingham 2022 to 63.