Five-time world triathlon champion to race the Rotorua Half Ironman

By Rotorua Half Ironman

One of triathlon's biggest superstars, five-time world champion and Olympic silver medallist Javier Gomez, is set to complete in the Rotorua Half Ironman on Saturday 17 December.
"To say this is a coup for the event would be a complete understatement," said event director Shane Hooks. "There is simply no comparison. For triathletes, it really doesn't get any bigger than Gomez. To choose to compete in such a grassroots event is almost beyond belief. It's like having Lionel Messi play in the local competition."
Gomez is in the Bay of Plenty to spend time with his Kiwi girlfriend and elite triathlete Anneke Jenkins. She was already registered to do the team section of this event with a training buddy and suggested that he join her. 
Hooks was concerned that Gomez might not have understood the sort of event that he was entering.
"We've never had prizemoney at this event and competitors race for giant soft toys. I'm not kidding, we don't do trophies - we give the race winners meter high panda bears. There is no elite section because, in this race, everyone is equal.”
This was all laid out to Gomez and he loved it.
Rotorua Lakes Events Manager Martin Croft says that the Rotorua Half is a fun event in an idyllic location and is always a huge hit with locals and visitors alike.
“For an athlete like Javier Gomez to choose to compete in the Rotorua Half speaks to the great reputation that this event has earnt over the past couple of decades. The fact that Rotorua is a must-visit destination here in New Zealand likely sweetened the proposition and we hope that Mr Gomez leaves with a big teddy and a lot of fond memories of his time here in New Zealand’s coolest hot spot.”
When the gun goes Gomez is widely expected to leave the field behind over the 2000m swim at Tikitapu, powering into a 90 km cycle out to Lake Rotoma followed by an off road half marathon that navigates the Green Lake. He is using the event as a training day as he returns from the injury that kept him out of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
One of the very few times Gomez raced this distance was the 70.3 world championship – a race that he won. 
He is widely recognised as the most talented all-round triathlete the world has ever produced. He has won the off-road world championship to go with his other world titles over three different distances.

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