Grand Prix Series event
richest here

By Pat Bigold

It will rival the Ironman Triathlon in terms of prize money and top-name competitors and it will be held in Waikiki.

The International Triathlon Grand Prix Series will stage a $100,000 "Triple Super Sprint" competition Sept. 28 at Kuhio Beach - the richest triathlon ever held on Oahu.

An all-male event, the top finisher will receive $25,000, according to Damien Bray, marketing director for OnLine Sports International.

That is $5,000 more than Mark Allen received for winning the last Ironman.

Allen, who has won seven Ironman titles, will be among the 24 top professional triathletes from around the world competing here.

Also in the top international field are Great Britain's Simon Lessing, the defending triathlon world champion; his countryman, Spencer Smith, a former two-time world champion; versatile Australian Greg Welch, who won the 1994 Ironman, and Brad Beven, a four-time world cup champion.

The Triple Super Sprint is one of four different forms the Grand Prix Series takes.

Competitors will actually be required to do three consecutive mini-triathlons in one afternoon with 15-minute breaks between the triathlons.

The races will begin with a 300-meter swim, a 7-kilometer bike race and finish with a 2-kilometer run.

"The faster you finish, the more time you get between races," said Bray.

The average triathlon, which will be an Olympic event in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, consists of a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bicycle leg and a 10-kilometer footrace.

"This will highlight the growth of triathlons in a spectator friendly environment as we approach the 2000 Olympics," said local organizer Ken MacDowell.

By the time the Triathlon Grand Prix reaches Hawaii, it will have already traveled to Germany, Great Britain, St. Petersburg, Fla., and San Diego. After Hawaii, the series will move on to the Philippines, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and finally, Sydney, Australia.

The Triathlon Grand Prix originated in Australia three years ago and this is the first year it has expanded internationally.

Promoters say the nine-event tour will be broadcast to more than 250 million people.

TV coverage will include Prime Sports, Eurosport, Asia's Star TV, Australia's Network 10 and New Zealand's TVNZ Network.

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