BARBADIAN Jason Wilson will be vying for his second straight crown, in the Olympic Triathlon event, at the 14th annual Massy Rainbow Cup International Triathlon takes place on Saturday at Black Rock Village, Tobago.
The 28-year-old Wilson won last year’s edition in a time of two hours, four minutes and 36 seconds.
Wilson, who was a participant at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be facing a number of competitors in this year’s event, including a pair of top Canadians Benjamin Rudson and Garrick Loewen.
Chief organiser Jason Gooding, in a telephone interview yesterday, added, “We have some new women. It’s good to say that the women’s field is looking bigger and stronger every year.”
Last year, Genesis Ruiz of Venezuela was the top female finisher (and seventh overall) in two hours 25 minutes and 14 seconds, with TT’s Jenna Ross second in two hours 32 seconds and 49 seconds.
According to Gooding, “When we just started, we just probably had a handful of women, now we have about 15-20 of them in the Olympic Distance.”
There will be a large contingent of TT participants, as well as entrants from Canada, Venezuela and Guadeloupe.
On Saturday will be a number of races – Olympic Triathlon and Junior 16-19 Sprint Race (at 7 am), Sprint Relay (at 7.02 am), Youth Triathlon for entrants 10-15 years old (11.30 am), Youth Triathlon Race for entrants seven-nine years old (1 pm) and 5-kilometre fun run/walk (1.30 pm).
Gooding noted, “We have a lot of the Juniors who have registered because this is also the National Triathlon Championships for the Juniors, as well as the Olympic Distance.
A lot of the top athletes are taking this very seriously.”
Concerning the preparation of the Turtle Beach Heritage Park, Gooding said, “My team has been here since (Tuesday). We’re cleaning out the whole Heritage Park. It just needs that sprucing up.
After doing it for 14 years, you tend to know what to do and the team that is working with you tend to know how things were done because a lot of them were here last year.”
He added, “We’re just trying to get the Park set up and ready for them, so when they come, they’ll have a good idea of how things are and how everything is going to be.”
Gooding said that the feedback from the Tobago public, both in terms of entrants and support, has been improving every year.
He said, “The Tobago participation has always been small. It’s been creeping up. Every year we get a little bit more but not significant numbers.
“This year it’s good because we’re getting more involvement from the (Black Rock residents). The Police are on board to have a mostly car-free course once again.”