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Auckland to Host 2012 ITU WCS Grand Final

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This week has been a great week for New Zealand Triathlon. Two New Zealand triathletes, Bevan Docherty and Nicky Samuels, beat out tough fields to take wins at the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon. Today, the ITU announced that Auckland has won the bid to be the host city for the 2012 ITU World Championship Series Grand Final. This year’s Grand Final will be in Budapest, Hungary. The 2011 version will be in Beijing, China.

See the complete press release below:

The International Triathlon Union (ITU) announced that Auckland, New Zealand will host the 2012 ITU World Championship Series Grand Final. The news was announced by members of Triathlon New Zealand at a press conference on the Auckland Waterfront this afternoon. Auckland was awarded the bid over cities from Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The Grand Final is the most prestigious race on the ITU calendar each year, and the Auckland event will be the final race to decide the 2012 ITU World Champions. The four-day event is set to take place from 18-22 October 2012. The sport’s biggest superstars, including Olympians from over 20 nations, will come to New Zealand, a country with a great triathlon history. Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in New Zealand and is home to many of the world’s greatest triathletes, including 2004 Olympic gold medallist Hamish Carter and two-time Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty.

“New Zealand is a very passionate triathlon country,” Docherty said. “We have a very strong history – with Hamish [Carter] winning gold and with my two Olympic medals – it is a fairly well recognised sport already.”

Fellow Kiwi Andrea Hewitt, who finished last season ranked third in the world, echoed Docherty’s comments.

“To have the 2012 World Championship Grand Final in Auckland will be amazing, not only for us as competitors, but for the spectators and public as well. Everyone loves triathlon in New Zealand, so it will be great to host the best race of the season in front of an appreciative home crowd.”

Triathlon New Zealand CEO Dave Beeche feels the event will be very beneficial to the city of Auckland.

“Hosting this World Championship Series Grand Final will be a huge boost for the profile of Auckland and New Zealand, with an estimated global audience in excess of 13 million watching on TV. But just as important is what this event will do for the sport and the profile here in New Zealand. This is like having the Olympics come to town for our sport—the very best in the world will race the likes of Bevan Docherty, Kris Gemmell, Andrea Hewitt and Debbie Tanner in our own backyard.”

The race, which will take place along the world famous Auckland Waterfront, will double as the 2012 ITU Age-Group World Championship, bringing thousands of age-group athletes and triathlon fans to New Zealand.

This year’s Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Grand Final will take place in Budapest, Hungary on 8-12 September, with the 2011 Grand Final set to take place in Beijing. The World Championship Series began in 2008, staging eight events throughout the world, including the first-ever Series Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia. This year’s seven-race series will culminate in Budapest, with stops along the way in Sydney, Seoul, Madrid, Hamburg, London and Ktizbühel (Austria).

Auckland has hosted an ITU World Cup event on four occasions, from 1995-1998.