Enduring Hewitt chases another triathlon world series podium



Enduring Kiwi triathlete Andrea Hewitt shows no signs of slowing up any time soon as she completes her 12th season at the top echelon of the sport at the ITU World Grand Final in Rotterdam in the Netherlands this weekend.

The 35 year old is keen, competitive and still loves the sport as she eyes another overall series podium on Saturday (local time).

Hewitt, with 107 World Cup starts under her belt, has enjoyed two wins and a podium this year and goes into the Grand Final in third place overall behind series leader Flora Duffy (Bermuda) and Ashleigh Gentle (Australia).

“A podium is a definite goal this weekend. I have the goods to be on the podium although there are so many good girls who have been racing well, especially Flora who has been virtually unbeatable this year.”

The forecast is for wet weather on the weekend which could benefit the slightly-built Kiwi.

“The cold does not suit me but the wet conditions do because I am confident around corners on the bike and there are a lot of turns on the bike course.”

The key is a strong swim, after she missed the front pack by a significant margin at Stockholm, for just the second time in her career.

“I have never been dropped if I have made a front group. It is really important I have a good swim.”

Hewitt, who won the series in 2011 and was second in 2014, is not thinking too far in the future.

“For me I am going year-by-year so I am not thinking Olympic cycle. It is so hard to know if you are going to be on top and who the competition will be. The racing is also changing in triathlon. Next year the Commonwealth Games is a sprint distance and a lot of the races are now sprint so there is a lot of change.

“There are a lot of athletes coming and going but I am still here. I am still here because I am competitive. I have always been fit and healthy. That has been the case even before triathlon and I don’t know what you put that down to.

“I am still enjoying it. It is not a chore or am I putting a lot of pressure on myself. So I am keen to keep going. To be honest I am not sure what I would do if I was not a triathlete.”

There are 14 Kiwis competing in the elite championships, starting on Friday afternoon (local time) with the Junior Women followed by the Under-23 Men. The other four grades compete on a busy Saturdaycomprising Junior Men, Under-23 Women, Elite Men and Elite Women.

The Paratriathlon World Championships are also on Friday, while the Age Group World Championships, for both Olympic and Sprint Distance, are on Sunday (local time).

The Triathlon New Zealand elite team is:

Junior Women (Friday 3pm local time): Ainsley Thorpe (Auckland), Hannah Knighton (Hamilton), Ari Graham (Christchurch).

Under-23 Men (Friday 5pm): Tayler Reid (Gisborne), Trent Thorpe (Auckland).

Junior Men (Saturday 8am): Dan Hoy (Auckland), Trent Dodds (Auckland), Janus Staufenburg (Wanaka).

Under-23 Women (Saturday 10am): Nicole van der Kaay (Taupo), Elise Salt (Auckland), Elizabeth Stannard (Palmerston North).

Elite Men (Saturday 1pm): Ryan Sissons (Cambridge), Sam Ward (Auckland).

Elite Women (Saturday 4pm): Andrea Hewitt (Christchurch_.