Bahrain skyline
Bahrain skyline

Challenge Triple Crown a 'game changer' for tri

Grand Final in Bahrain to offer $1m prize purse next year

The organisers behind last weekend's Challenge Bahrain have announced a three-race series for the region next year, called the Challenge Triple Crown and offering a $1m prize fund for the Grand Final in Bahrain.

Triathlon legend Chris 'Macca' McCormack was one of the first to express his excitement:

This follows an exciting weekend's half iron distance racing in Bahrain over the weekend, which saw strong performances from Brits Tim Don (4th), Rachel Joyce (2nd), Jodie Swallow (3rd) and Jodie Stimpson (8th). Overall victory came for Michael Raelert (GER) and Helle Frederiksen (DEN), who claimed the biggest chunk of the $500k prize pot.

“The Triple Crown is changing completely the perception of triathlon on a global scale,” said Challenge Family CEO, Zibi Szlufcik. “It’s a game changer for the sport, taking it to a whole new level. Plus it is providing Challenge Family opportunity to grow the sport in line with our core values and providing pro athletes as well as age groupers with an amazing structure throughout the whole year, leading to a grand final in Bahrain.”

The series is already a talking point among pros – GB athlete Tamsin Lewis told 220 earlier today: "The Sheikhs can sure put on a show! After years of suffering poor prize money and rewards as a pro triathlete (albeit my own choosing), this is good news for the sport. As Challenge Bahrain showed money talks attracting the best fields and athletes in mint condition.

"My only reserve is that the courses will all be similar – flat and therefore only suit a certain type of athlete. My experience with the Challenge organisation has a whole has been highly positive, with pro athletes being treated with respect and provided with a HomeStay and decent prize money. The same cannot be said for Ironman."

The increase in high profile sporting events in this part of the world has come with its critics though, and has already sparked debate on social media sites.....

Whatever the political debates are, this could be a nice stocking filler for some in form pros next Christmas. With this kind of incentive, the question will be if this is enough for the big name long distance athletes to switch their training plans for 2015 away from the Kona 'chalice' and that Ironman title?

(Image: Harold Heindell Tejada)

Do you think the Challenge Triple Crown will lure many athletes away from Kona? Let us know in the comments below!


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I really don't understand pros who are continually bashing the Ironman.

If a pro is involved in triathlon in order to get rich and live the high life they are in the wrong profession.

There just has to be more to it than the money.....

Many pro and age-groupers alike who have had the opportunity to race in Kona get it. There is something special about Ironman Hawaii that will be found no place else on earth.

It's an elusive, intangible spirit that haunts the Queen K. Highway and for many the experience is mystical, unforgettable and yes...priceless.

Without the remarkable souls at the grass-roots who created the Ironman Triathlon just to see what a person would truly be capable of when pushed to the very limits of their physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual threshold there would be no Challenge Triathlon...there would be no triathlon in the Olympics. There would be no triathlon anywhere.

There is room enough in the world for anyone or any company who might choose to create a triathlon brand of their own.

I wish them all well, but can really do without all the bashing of the Ironman brand.

Nobody is forcing anyone to compete in a WTC event as a pro. If they don't supply a purse big enough than choose other options that better suit your needs.

The Challenge seems like the way to go if it's money you are after but really.......of all the pro triathletes in the world there are only a handful of the very best who will see any of it.

Age-group athletes have no opportunity to earn anything in the way of cash prizes and yet it costs them just as much to travel to races, pay entry fees, and accommodations as it does a pro.

They do the Ironman because they love it and many would give anything to be able to pay thousands of dollars to travel and stay and be part of Ironman Hawaii in Kona just once, but for most it will never become a reality.

Just for the record.....I sponsor a pro who has raced Ironman all over North America and she has never payed for lodging or food or transportation at an Ironman venue.

She has managed to find HomeStay arrangements everywhere she races Ironman.

What pros don't seem to understand is that it is usually taken care of on a race by race basis. The trick is to contact the race director of a race you are going to be in and most times they will put you in contact with locals who would be thrilled to host a pro triathlete.

If some of the top pros fore-go racing in the World Championships in Kona in order to race in the Challenge big money series I'm almost positive it will make many second-tier Ironman pros around the world very happy as it will free up some Kona Championship spots for those pros on the bubble who would love to have the opportunity to compete in Kona as a pro.

Best of luck to all of you, both pro and age-group triathletes alike, regardless of where and when you decide to race.

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