One of the ITU’s newest National Federations announced its arrival this week with an historic ITU Level 1 Club and Community course in Tonga.
Tonga lies in the middle of the South Pacific and is made up of over 170 individual coral islands spread out over 700,000 square kilometres. In the sporting world, it is better known for its success in sports like rugby and football, but now has triathlon as an emerging sport.
Oceania Sport Development Program Co-ordinator, Terry Sheldrake, co-ordinated the course after an initial fact finding visit earlier in the year. Triathlon Australia’s National Talent and Development Manager, Craig Redman, facilitated and conducted the three and a half day course which culminated in a team triathlon event.
The Tongan Triathlon Federation, who actually like to be known as the Friendly Islands Triathlon or FIT for short, were supported financially by the ITU and OTU to assist the small but keen local athletes into action and to continue the growth of the sport in Oceania. The National Olympic Committee of Tongafully supported the course by providing the venue, while the New Zealand High Commission provided the pool for the swimming practical session.
The course covered the basics of swim, bike, run and transitions along with teaching and learning theories, nutrition, sports psychology, planning and programming and hands on practical sessions in swimming, cycling and running.
Craig Redman said it had led all involved to set high goals.
“The course has clearly had an impact with the federation now looking towards the Pacific Games in September then towards sending an age group team to the 2012 ITU World Championships in Auckland,” he said. “After that they are aiming higher and have the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games on their radar.”