This is the time of year that glitzy and glamorous awards parties are held for the film and music industry but also, for the ETU Family.
A tradition started in 2016 in Paris, continued in 2017 in Rome and now, in 2018 moving to Moscow, it is a chance for the many national federations that make up the European Triathlon Union, to meet, exchange ideas, to plan ahead and to celebrate the successes of their athletes, event organisers and Technical Officials.
Last year’s winners and guests in Rome.
For the 2017 season, the 7 categories are:
- Female Athlete of the Year
- Male Athlete of the Year
- National Federation of the Year
- Emerging / Developing National Federation of the Year
- Technical Official of the Year
- Organiser of the Year
- ETU Executive Board Award
So, who might be the lucky winners?
For the British athlete, Jess Learmonth, her year finished on a high with a world bronze in a very wet and cold Rotterdam. This contrasted to the glorious sunshine of Kitzbühel, earlier in the year when she and fellow Brit Sophie COLDWELL raced neck and neck for the bike and part of the run, before she broke away to take the European crown. Her performances around the world showed her strength and determination and, following her return to fitness after the 2016 injury, she can look back on 2017 with some degree of pleasure and satisfaction.
- 3rd place at the 2017 Rotterdam World Triathlon Series Grand Final;
- Winner of the 2017 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon European Championships;
- 2nd place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm;
- 6th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Leeds;
- 8th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama;
- 17th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg; and
- Winner of the 2017 Gran Canaria ETU Triathlon European Cup.
But Learmonth is up against Russia’s Anastasia Abrosimova, whose consistent racing of the ETU European Cup circuit delivered her a winner’s bonus end-of-season pay-cheque as she ran away in the 2017 ETU Rankings Series. Her final race in Melilla was thrilling right down to the finish. Although she won silver, her smile afterwards was truly golden.
- 2nd place at the 2017 Melilla ETU Triathlon European Cup Final;
- 14th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi;
- 21st place at the 2017 Tiszaújváros ITU Triathlon World Cup;
- 28th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam;
- 2nd place at the 2017 Holten ETU Sprint Triathlon Premium European Cup;
- 6th place at the 2017 Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships;
- 8th place at the 2017 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon European Championships
- 3rd place at the 2017 Quarteira ETU Triathlon European Cup.
Rachel Klamer is a rare visitor to the European circuit but when she is present, it is a guarantee that there will be excitement. Racing on home soil in Holten, she has been the golden girl for many years now. In 2017 she brought her long-time partner, Richard MURRAY to Holten. The crowds loved it and with his victory there, they were indeed the golden couple. Closing her season to finish 8th in the WTS Rankings.
- 7th place at the 2017 Rotterdam World Triathlon Series Grand Final;
- Winner of the 2017 Holten ETU Sprint Triathlon Premium European Cup;
- 6th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Montréal;
- 6th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Edmonton;
- 10th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg;
- 5th place at the 2017 Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships;
- 20th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama; and
- 25th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Gold Coast.
For the men, we are focussed this year on the neighbouring nations of Spain and Portugal.
Most famous amongst them is of course Mario MOLA ESP. Following his 8th place in Rio and 5th in Cozumel in 2016, his racing in 2017 was stellar and despite the bitter cold and rain of Rotterdam, he was able to place high enough there to retain his WTS World title for the second year. A great favourite with the crowds, always ready to sign autographs and easily one of the best ambassadors for the sport, he races now almost exclusively on the WTS circuit.
- Winner of the World Triathlon Series 2017;
- 3rd place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam;
- 7th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Stockholm;
- 14th place at 2017 ITU World Triathlon Montréal;
- Winner at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Edmonton;
- Winner of the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Hamburg;
- Winner of the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Yokohama;
- Winner of the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Gold Coast;
- 8th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Abu Dhabi
A man we see at so many ETU races is Uxío Abuín Ares ESP. He burst onto the scene in 2010 as a junior in Nancy with a European silver at the Duathlon Championships and rounded that season off with the World Duathlon title in Edinburgh. 2015 saw him run away with the ETU Rankings title. He ended the 2016 season with four straight wins showing that he was back in form and ready for the 2017 season. Four podium appearances on the ETU Cup circuit was enough for him to once again win the ETU Rankings Series.
- 3rd place at the 2017 Melilla ETU Triathlon European Cup Final;
- Winner of the 2017 Weihai ITU Triathlon World Cup;
- 3rd place at the 2017 Huelva ITU Triathlon World Cup; and
- 30th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam;
- 1st place at the 2017 Altafulla ETU Triathlon European Cup and Mediterranean Championships
- 17th place at the 2017 Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships
- 5th place at the 2017 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon European Championships
- 2nd place at the 2017 Quarteira ETU Triathlon European Cup
- 3rd place at the 2017 Gran Canaria ETU Triathlon European Cup
It has never been done before. Portuguese athlete João Pereira in Rio and on the back of that solid 2016 form, delivered a series of well-timed top-drawer performances on the circuit. Making the very top place on the podium in both Sprint and Standard Distance races has not been done before and although the Portuguese press were pretty slow to recognise that their athlete had made history, amongst the triathlon world, his remarkable “Double” has been applauded. A trip to Melilla at the end of the season led us all to expect a dramatic showdown between him and Uxío Abuín Ares but a crash and a ruined rear mech denied Pereira any points. His season’s best performances nevertheless gave him a solid third place in the ETU Rankings.
- 8th place at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam
- 1st place Team, 2017 Banyoles ETU Triathlon Clubs European Championships
- Winner of the 2017 Düsseldorf ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships
- Winner of the 2017 Kitzbühel ETU Triathlon European Championships
- Winner of the 2017 Quarteira ETU Triathlon European Cup
What makes a National Federation, the “National Federation of the Year”?
Well, perhaps Great Britain has the answer, having won this prestigious title in 2015 and 2016. Without doubt, Team GB as the athletes are happy to be called, arriving “en masse” at any Age Group Championships turns heads. BTF’s dedication to developing para-athlete participation, the carefully-structured education programme for technical officials and coaches and the solid elite base that has been a motivation for many at grass-roots level. These are all factors that can get you recognised.
The 2017 award, however will be decided between Spain, Hungary, Denmark and Norway.
Spain has delivered some great events to the racing calendar over the past years. 2017 saw them host the ETU Duathlon European Championships in Soria, which gave our Elite, Juniors, Para and Age Group athletes the chance to go for gold. Reports came back from the race that were full of praise for the great way that athletes had been welcomed. Later in the year, Spain provided once again a great venue in Banyoles for the ETU Club Mixed Relay Triathlon European Championships. The live TV-feed took us right into the race and was a massive boost for clubs. 2017 also saw the Mixed Relay format open up to Junior Clubs.
The European Cup calendar had started early, in Las Palmas with the ETU Triathlon European Cup. Again, really good reports came back from athletes who raced there and the event simply looked good. The season ended in October, once again in great sunshine and with a fantastic, exciting finale to the ETU season in Melilla, with the ETU Triathlon European Cup Final and ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup. The Spanish Federation has continued to invest in education programmes for its technical officials and coaches and continues to place high in international events around the world.
Hungary has seen a great season for its junior athletes, with Csongor Lehman going from strength to strength and with Gergő Soós close behind him. Its Elite athletes have performed well and if there is one to watch out for in 2018, it will be Zsanett Bragmayer. The Hungarian Federation hosted once again the hugely popular ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup in Tiszaújváros and then the ETU U23 Triathlon European Championships in Velence. This event, held during one of the hottest weeks in central Europe, saw the LOC and the Technical Officials, led by our medically-qualified Mary-Clare Bancewicz, work under intensely challenging conditions to nevertheless deliver a thrilling event that saw some great performances. It was the Hungarian Junior Team that won the Junior Mixed Relay in Kitzbühel by a clear 30 seconds.
Denmark provided us with one of the most nail-biting finishes in the Mixed Relay we have seen for a long time. Due in no small part to the amazing 3rd leg run by the young Sif Bendix Madsen, the Danish team secured Gold. Only born in 2001, she showed no fear when mixing with the Elite and outpaced everyone on her leg. She then went on to win the Junior race in Holten to place herself firmly in the top ten for Junior Women’s Rankings, with only two races counting. The Danish Federation had hosted the spring ETU Challenge Middle Distance Triathlon European Championships in Herning and were successful in bidding for the 2018 ETU Powerman Middle Distance Duathlon championships, due to be held in May in Vejle.
Norway has a great reputation for hosting Winter Triathlon events and is well-known for having supported and nurtured the young and very promising talent called Kristian Blummenfelt. It was a pretty amazing sight at the end of the season in Rotterdam to see so many Norwegian Age Group athletes and if ever there was a meteoric rise in numbers in this all-important category in our sport, then the Norwegians have managed to achieve it. From virtually no Age Group participation, they were up in the top with over 120 racing in their national uniforms. They even established “Norway House” in true Olympic style, which proved to be very popular with other federations and clearly set the bar high for future major championships. With a development programme in full swing now and with plans to take Team Norway around the world to a selected list of events, we can expect to see very many more Norwegian Age Group athletes racing the circuit. Great news for Norway and great news for our sport.
ETU has, does and will continue to invest in the development of smaller federations. In 2016, Croatia won the category “Emerging/developing National Federation of the year”. In Rome, last year, it was Slovenia and this year they will once again face the scrutiny of the ETU Development Committee and Executive Board along with Romania to see who will win in Moscow.
Using a complicated table, analysing data from results and courses that have delivered new athletes, coaches and officials to the sport, the ETU Development Committee, with Željko Bijuk will make their decision.
Croatia finished high in the National Federation Junior Rankings. There are not so many elite athletes on the circuit yet but those who do race are consistent in their performances. With 9 Technical Officials recorded in 2017 along with 7 certified coaches, the Federation is looking good for the future.
Slovenia was just edged out of position by Croatia in the Junior Rankings and has returned stronger results for its Elite Men. With a dynamic new board and with a wealth of racing opportunities available domestically, they have taken back from their visits to international events many positives. 2017 showed them to have 6 Technical Officials and 6 certified coaches.
Romania missed out a little in the Junior Rankings but with much more grass-roots participation and a real focus on building upon the growth of Age-Group and junior participation, the future is planned well. Their leading Elite woman, Antoanela Manac has done much to promote and encourage the participation of women in Multisports in Romania and the success of the Transylvania Cross Festival was not just one for the federation but for everyone who raced there. Romania had 9 Technical Officials and 7 certified coaches in 2017. Having bid for, having won and having staged one of the most impressive ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships in years shows that the federation is moving in the right direction.
Technical Official of the year; will Moscow see the title go to a woman?
In 2016, the title went jointly to Jorge García and Dr Béla Varga. In 2017 the title went to Stéfane Mauris.
This year the following technical officials have been nominated by the ITU Technical Committee.
From Belgium, Dirk Bogaert. Dirk has made a massive contribution to the sport over the years and dedicates many hours outside his long working day to our sport. He was the very first Technical Delegate at the ETU Sprint Triathlon European Championships in Düsseldorf; a huge undertaking and a mass-participation event. Dirk is also a member of the ITU Technical Committee, providing a valuable link between ITU and ETU. As a Level III Technical Official he is one of less than 50 of the top flight officials in the world.
From Great Britain comes Sarah Taylor. She was nominated last year but lost out to Switzerland’s much-loved and respected Stéfane Mauris. Sarah was Technical Delegate for the ITU Rotterdam World Championships, having been fast-tracked. At that point she was still Level II but has since attended and been successful at the ITU Level III course. As the fastest-developed female official in Europe, can she win this year?
Daniel Martin comes from Austria. An immensely powerful MTB rider, when he was working at the Transylvania Cross Festival he managed to ride over 200km off-road as Chief Bike ensuring the course was safe and fair. As a committee member on the ITU Multisport Committee, his experience was invaluable in Transylvania. He was Technical Delegate at the Panevėžys Youth Festival and is the only ITU Level II official who has been granted a Technical Delegate assignment at a WTS event due to the faith ITU has in him and his advanced competence.
To be named “Organiser of the year” is a huge honour. In the past this title went to Geneva for its magnificent ETU Triathlon European Championships. The title was also held by Tiszaújváros following the tremendous success of the Youth Festival and Junior European Cup.
This year the nominations are:
Only a couple of years ago, the ETU Executive Board decided to add an exciting new concept to the international race schedule; the Clubs Championships. The first event, due to be held in Nice, was cancelled after the deadly storms that tore through France and so it was that Banyoles took up the baton and, using a tried and tested course, the Spanish Federation put on a really impressive event. 2017 saw the race grow with the addition of a Junior Mixed Relay category. The Banyoles ETU Triathlon Clubs European Championships was a “must-race” event and with word getting back to clubs around Europe we are expecting an even bigger attendance in 2018.
It has been quite some time since the blue banners of ETU have been seen in Funchal but 2017 was a date to remember as a small but determined team working from within the Tourism Office welcomed athletes to the island for a stunning race. With the sunshine above them, and with the beautiful scenery alongside, the athletes were all full of praise for the way they had been welcomed, for the reception by the spectators and for the quality of the event. In fact the event was so popular that the ETU Executive Board has selected this event to host the end of season Cup Final, 27th & 28th October. Book your travel now.
2014 was still fresh in the minds of many when they read the news that once again the Austrian Federation had been successful with its bid to host the 2017 ETU Triathlon European Championships. Kitzbühel would once again echo to the sounds of athletes from all over Europe. The venue is simply stunning. The lake is beautiful, the mountains tower above us and the air, so fresh and clean tastes good. We had dreadful rain on the first day, which made it really tough for the para-athletes but, with the rains subsiding, the atmosphere lifted and we were treated to superb and exciting races. Once again, those special Kitzbühel hats proved popular.
The ETU Youth Festival has become a fertile ground for the development of our younger athletes and, moving to Lithuania, where we have had great junior races in the past, the LOC and the National federation worked hard to put on a truly great event based in the town of Panevėžys. Live-TV gave everyone, anywhere a chance to follow the race and the opening ceremony set a new high standard for event organisers.
A well-established event that stepped up to the international circuit in 2017 was Wuustwezel. The LOC there were full of enthusiasm, “Wuustwezel is looking forward to the “Sportoase triathlonfestival” on the 12th and 13th of August. It’s going to be a week-end full of sport, top-class sport and party.” Over 1500 participants flocked to the small town to enjoy the chance of racing and then celebrated, partied and danced well into the night. “Never before have I experienced such a great atmosphere in Belgium”, said Belgium’s top commentator, Hans Cleemput.
The final award; the ETU Executive Board Award has been given in the past to the French Triathlon Federation, La Fédération française de triathlon (FFTri) and to Estonia’s promising young athlete, Kaidi Kivioja.
Always a challenge for the ETU Executive Board to decide. Which athlete, coach, official or federation or organiser will win this prestigious title in Moscow?
So, for the 2017 nominations, who should be getting ready for the red carpet?
- Female athlete of the year: Anastasia Abrosimova (RUS), Rachel Klamer (NED), Jessica Learmonth (GBR),
- Male athlete of the year: Uxío Abuín Ares (ESP), Mario Mola (ESP), João Pereira (POR)
- National Federation of the year: Hungary, Norway, Spain, Denmark
- Emerging/developing National Federation of the year: Croatia, Romania, Slovenia
- Technical Official of the year: Dirk Bogaert (BEL), Daniel Martin (AUT), Sarah Taylor-Hough (GBR)
- Organiser of the year: Banyoles (ESP), Funchal (POR), Kitzbühel (AUT), Panevėžys (LTU), Wuustwezel (BEL)
- ETU Executive Board Award: ??