The week that everyone has been waiting for all year has finally arrived, the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam is here! With activities starting on Thursday, September 14, triathletes from all corners of the globe will make their way to The Netherlands to compete in the finale of the 2017 triathlon season. World Championships crowns are up for grabs in the Elite, Junior, Under-23, Paratriathlon and Age Group levels in both the standard and sprint distance categories.
While the elite races will take place on Saturday, September 16 and will be the ultimate showdown in the final race of the 2017 World Triathlon Series, as always, it is the age group triathletes that will make the long weekend an event that will never be forgotten!
The opening ceremonies with a parade of nations will kick off on Thursday and then let the triathlon racing commence! First ones on taking the stage will be Paratriathletes, who will be diving on the Mass river on Friday at 9 am, to be followed at 15 pm by the Junior women race, and two hours later, at 19h, it will be the U23 men going on the streets of the Dutch city.
Saturday will be the big day not only for the Elite athletes. The Junior men will be warming up the spectators from 8 am, to be followed by the U23 Women at 10 am.
Then at 13.06 pm will be showtime for the best triathletes in the world, with World Crown up for grab. Among the favourites, five times world champion Javier Gomez Noya, current holder of the title Mario Mola, and some serious aspirants to the overall podium as Jonathan Brownlee, Richard Murray, Fernando Alarza or Kristian Blummenfelt.
At 15.51 pm, the best Elite women of the world will take the stage. Among the 48 participants, former World Champions as Flora Duffy, silver Medallists in the Series as Andrea Hewitt, former Junior World Champions as Ashleigh Gentle or double Olympic medallist Nicola Spirig, with many other spirants to the world crowns.
Over 3500 athletes are signed up to vie for a chance at winning a world championship in their respective age group category. Just under 2000 people will compete in the standard distance race, with just over 1600 that will choose to compete in the shorter sprint distance course. There will 404 triathletes competing across the U23, Junior and Elite races and also 163 Paratriathletes.
Including ITU getting to bear a flag, there will be 78 nations represented over the course of the week. Leading with the most athletes will be Great Britain who has 770 athletes in their roster. The United States has the second largest number of athletes coming to compete with 594, followed by the home nation of The Netherlands with 405, Mexico has 331 and Canada tallies 313.
The oldest man racing in Rotterdam will be Bill Ziering of the USA who was born in January of 1930, making him 87 years old. The oldest woman will be competing in the 80-84 sprint race category, she is Mary Anstey of Great Britain, who was born in January 1936, so she is 81 years old. If these two people don’t inspire you, we don’t know what will!
On the opposite standard, the youngest triathlete will be Annabelle Waterworth of New Zealand, coming in 16-19 Female AG Sprint, who was born in December 2001, so she is only 15 years young!
Get those signs ready to cheer on your favourite athletes! Did you know there are 50 Davids, 37 Michaels, 34 Peters and 32 Pauls coming in the men’s races? While the most popular female name is Sarah with 17 signed up, followed by 15 Michelles and 14 Annes – good luck to all of them!
And remember, you can watch the Elite races live on Triathlonlive.tv, and for all the other races we will have live images from Rotterdam. You can also follow us on social media at @triathlonlive. Don’t miss any of the action!