Triathlon: For the first time, Germany is hosting the World Championships for cross triathletes from all over the world: On August 16, the 2014 Zittau ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships will take place in the Zittau Mountains Nature Park. With 90 days to go before the event, over 400 athletes have already been pre-registered to take part through their national federations. In addition to numerous German athletes, cross-triathletes from the USA, Australia, Canada, Russia, New Zealand, South Africa, South America, Japan and most European countries will travel to Upper Lusatia for the international highlight of the season.
In front of around 12.000 expected spectators, the defending champions Conrad Stoltz (South Africa) and Helena Erbenová (Czech Republic) will face the challenge at Lake Olbersdorf and against the best cross triathletes in the world, such as Josiah Middaugh (USA), Ben Allen (Australia), Jacqui Slack (Great Britain), Renata Bucher (Switzerland) or Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) have to claim. The reigning ETU European Cross-Triathlon Champion, Kathrin Müller (Germany), is also given a good chance of being right at the front.
How the 2005 Ironman winner, Faris Al-Sultan, manages to break into the league of cross specialists is eagerly awaited by many. It is not yet clear which other German elite athletes will start at the World Cross Country Championships. The qualification for Zittau takes place as part of the DTU DM Cross-Triathlon in Clausthal-Zellerfeld on July 12th, where four starting places per gender are still up for grabs. Lisa Henkel, who is responsible for the project at the German Triathlon Union (DTU), is pleased about the strong interest in registering on the part of the German age group athletes for the home world championships. With currently more than 150 nominations from German cross-triathletes, the host nation is strongly represented and also shows, according to Henkel, "that our efforts on the part of the DTU to be represented with as many age group starters as possible at international events are slowly bearing fruit."
For the southern Upper Lusatia region, hosting the 4th ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships is a great opportunity to once again present itself as a worthy host in front of an international audience. "In total, we are expecting around 700 World Championship participants on Saturday and around 800 cross-triathletes for the more folk sport-oriented competitions of the 14th O-SEE Challenge on Sunday", says Schwager, also referring to the challenge for such a comparatively small region in the south-eastern part of Saxony.