ETU Innovation Award 2019 winner and 2020 edition

By Paul Groves | 25 Feb, 2020

On February 15th at the ETU Gala Dinner in Minsk, the inaugural ETU Innovation Award was presented to LEAP Sports. This Loughborough based start-up is a high-skilled, highly-motivated team of engineers and athletes, with representation from Great-Britain, Italy and Malta. 

Photo: Oreste Di Cristino

One of the team members, world class triathlete Ben Dijkstra, 2014 Youth Olympic Champion and currently the reigning European Champion U23 was unable to attend as he was in Australia at a training camp, preparing for the 2020 season coming up, so instead, Ross Archer, one of the engineering brains behind the project, represented the team in Minsk.

LEAP Sport team has identified the massive waste that is generated by athletes using rubber bands to holds their bike shoes in place for T1. In perfect accord with our sport’s move towards sustainability, they want to reduce this waste and to provide instead an even better alternative.

There were two other applications but in the jury’s view, these needed more development and  elaboration to make a real chance of making it to the market.  The LEAP Sport concept and the way it was presented stood out and the ETU Jury greatly appreciated the combination of a real innovation and the aim of making triathlon more sustainable.

The ETU Jury was delighted to award the LEAP Sport the full €6,000 prize money in the form of a giant cheque, presented by ETU board member Martin Breedijk. LEAP Sport will be able to use these funds to protect and further develop their idea with a view to bringing it to the market. With Ben Dijkstra set to race at the highest level once again, the potential is enormous.

ETU would like to build upon this success and to announce the 2020 Edition of the Innovation Award. So, from March 1st we invite applications but with one major change to the rules. Last year the emphasis was on encouraging young people. This year the ETU Innovation Award will be open for any European licensed triathlete aged 18 years or older.

The criteria to be eligible for the ETU Innovation Award are:

  • Applicants have to be a member of one of the member federations of the ETU.
  • Applicants must have an age 18 or above.
  • The idea presented must be an innovation in triathlon in any way. It can be for example a product, a service or a new event format.
  • The innovation must not be more than three years old as of the judges’ panel meeting.
  • The innovations must not have been awarded in another competition.
  • Try to give as much information on the project as you have. For example, project plan, design, people who have been consulted etc.

The applications can be sent to the ETU headquarters via

All applications will be treated confidential.

The application should contain the following:

  • Clarification of the innovation, at least showing what it is, how it works, why it’s innovative etc. You can use written documentation, drawings, video, software, prototype or any other way you want to show your idea.
  • License of the applicant proofing membership of the national federation.
  • Proof of the age of the applicant (copy of passport or ID-card).
  • Further supporting materials like designs, project plan etc.