Forty-six women are on Saturday’s start list for the World Triathlon Cup tour in Miyazaki, and eyes will be on African no. 1-ranked triathlete Shanae Williams, competing in an international field stacked with experience and emerging talent in Japan early Saturday morning.
Race day for the season-concluding Miyazaki will stage a Standard-distance course which starts with a 2 lap 1.5km swim in Hitotsuba Beach, transitions to a 8 lap 40km bike course and finishes with a 4 lap 10km run. The races will be streamed in full on TriathlonLive.tv (10.30am local time, 03:00am CAT).
With a continental ranking of 1, has Williams can draw courage from her bronze-medal podium finish at the 2023 Africa Triathlon Championships in Hurghada two weeks ago, and she will have full attention on the crucial Olympic qualification window for Paris 2024, in common with all competitors in Saturday’s season-ending race.
Jean Lehair Headlines the Field
Luxembourg’s Jeanne Lehair is one of the best young athletes in triathlon. After making the switch from France to Luxembourg in 2022, the emerging star has gone from strength to strength securing the 2023 Europe Triathlon Championships Madrid title, 5th place in the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Cagliari, 4th place in the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Series Montreal and 13th place in the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals Pontevedra.
Lehair is looking to close her season with a medal in the standard-distance World Triathlon Cup in Miyazaki. Great Britain’s Kate Waugh was the top seeded athlete on the start list in Japan however has been forced to withdraw due to illness.
Japan’s Yuko Takahashi has delivered a brilliant back end of her 2023 season by earning gold in the 2023 Asian Games in China, 2023 National Championships in Japan and an impressive silver in Tongyeong last weekend behind Olympic champion Gwen Jorgsensen. Takahashi is eager to deliver a top performance in front of a home crowd in Japan this weekend.
Olympic Champ Gwen Jorgensen Looking to continue Winning Streak
Olympic champion Gwen Jorgensen (USA) delivered a striking run last weekend in Tongyeong to earn the World Cup title. The USA star has secured World Cup gold medals in both Karlovy Vary and Valencia and is looking to do the same in Miyazaki this weekend, in the standard-distance race format. Jorgensen returned to racing this year after having her second baby and is focused on qualifying for the next Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
Italy’s Bianca Seregni and Ilaria Zane have produced exceptional results on the World Triathlon Cup tour this season. Seregni claimed victory in both Weihai and Chengdu World Cups, both standard-distance races. Zane showed her brilliant form earning bronze in Weihai and Chengdu. The Italian duo are motivated to continue their podium domination in Miyazaki in the standard-distance format.
Belgian Hammer Claire Michel has delivered an incredible season of results with 11th place in the 2023 World Triathlon Championship Finals in Pontevedra followed by silver in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Chengdu. The Olympian representing Belgium brings a wealth of experience and talent to the start line and will be looking to close her 2023 season with some medal bling from Miyazaki as well as earning valuable Olympic points.
Ones to Watch
Italy’s Alice Betto returns to racing after having her first child. Betto secured victory in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Brasilia in a world class field and will be looking to do the same in Miyazaki.
Australia’s Jaz Hedgeland and Kira Hedgeland continue their quest for Olympic points and World Cup medals this weekend. Kira Hedgeland was 8th last weekend in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup while Jaz crossed the line in 12th place. Australia’s Sophie Linn has had a stacked season of racing on the World Triathlon Championship Series scene, will toe the line in Miyazaki in the mix of an incredibly talented start list.
Hungary’s Zsófia Kovács was a fast mover last weekend in Tongyeong crossing the line in 6th place, showing her class as she stayed hot on the heels of Jorgensen and bronze medallist Tereza Zimovjanova (CZE). Zimovjanova will also line up for glory this weekend in Miyazaki. Hungarian compatriot Márta Kropkó will join Kovács in Miyazaki. Kropkó crossed the line in 10th place in the 2023 World Triathlon Cup Weihai and 12th in Chengdu and is looking for her first World Cup medal as she targets the race this Saturday in Miyazaki.
Slovakia’s Ivana Kuriackova and Romana Gajdošová and members of the 2023 Team World Triathlon have been racing back to back World Triathlon Cups from Yeongdo to Weihai to Chengdu to Tongyeong and will be vying for their personal bests in Miyazaki this weekend to close the long season.
Watch the race on Saturday 28 October from 3am CAT on TriathlonLive.tv
Photo Caption: All eyes will be on Africa’s no. 1-ranked triathlete, Shanae Williams, competing in the season-concluding 2023 World Triathlon Cup in Miyazaki, Japan, in an international field stacked with experience and emerging talent. Photo: Shanae Williams on Instagram