The Minister for Defence Mr Tony Killeen TD today officiated at the opening ceremony for the European Triathlon Championships in Athlone, Co. Westmeath.
The Championships take place from the 1st to the 4th of July 2010.
The Irish Triathlon Union (ITU) European Triathlon Championships is the second largest championships ever staged in Ireland – second only to the Special Olympics. This year the event has been extended to a four day programme. The event is supported by Waterways Ireland, Athlone Town Council, Fáilte Ireland and the Defence Forces.
Speaking at the ceremony Minister Killeen said “I am delighted to be here this evening to officiate at this major international sporting event. I know that over the last 4 years Triathlone has grown to be one of the biggest triathlons in the world. It is a great honour for Athlone and the ITU to be awarded the staging of the European Triathlon Championships. It is the first ever round of professional triathlon circuit to be held in Ireland.”
The Defence Forces participated in the triAthlone Parade of Nations with the band of the 4th Western Brigade who led the parade from Custume Barracks to the Civic Plaza. Each national flag was carried by a member of the Reserve Defence Forces ahead of athletes from that country. The Air Corps display team provided a fly past.
Triathlon is the fastest growing sport in Ireland. The first Triathlon in Ireland was held in Greystones, Co Wicklow in 1983. In the last 4 years triAthlone has firmly established itself as a significant event in the European circuit, drawing increasing numbers of participants and competitors each year. The first Triathlon in Ireland was held in Greystones, Co. Wicklow.
It is expected that approx 4,000 athletes will participate in the event, with over 1500 coming from overseas. The professional European Championship event will have 120 elite competitors participating. Up to 50,000 people are expected to attend the Championships over the 4 days.
Minister Killeen complimented the organisers and sponsors on this major logistical undertaking and wished all the athletes well for the event.
Notes to Editor:
- For further information please contact Mark Dunphy of Dunphy Public Relations on 00353868534900 or media ( @ ) dunphypr dot com
- High-resolution images of Minister Killeen are available to download from www.dunphyprimages.com