Alberta triathletes find welcome in Edmonton

Hundreds of Alberta athletes have been finding new ways to compete as Edmonton plays host to the TransCanada Corp. World Triathlon Grand Final.

According to the organizers of the event, over 70 countries are represented and around 10 per cent of the athletes are from Alberta.

That number is expected to grow as Edmonton is home to one of the few triathlon academies in the country.

“The athletes need somewhere to develop,” head coach of the Edmonton Triathlon Academy Kevin Clark said.

“So if they want to stay in Alberta, we’re here to support them.”

On their website the Academy states its role is to develop young athletes between 12 and 23 years old.

The experience is something that Mark Brown, who is training at the Academy, said was positive.

“We have tons of developing youth athletes and we are starting to get some more elite athletes now.

“The Edmonton Triathlon Academy has been the vector I needed to get where I need to be,” he added.

Clark said when the organization was formed in 2010 they had three athletes and in just a few years have grown to 30 students.

Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield said he hoped to see the sport continue to grow.

“It is such a fun sport and especially for kids. I’ve got two daughters. I want to see them in a sport that is positive and gives them all different opportunities and that is exactly what triathlon does.”

Organizers of the TransCanada Corp. World Triathlon Grand Final said Edmonton had the right kind of environment to nurture up and coming triathlon athletes.

“Edmonton does pride itself on being Canada’s triathlon city and this kind of an event really cements that,” Sheila O’Kelly said.

The Academy website states it hopes to thrust the city back onto the world stage by preparing for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

With files from Sarah Richter

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