It’s almost showtime at The Championship: more than sixty professional athletes will compete for the win at Challenge Family’s flagship event in Šamorín, Slovakia. Once again, many world class triathletes will line up with their eye on the coveted titles in both the men’s and women’s fields, all prepared to fight until the final metres to claim victory.
For the first time in the history of The Championship, the swim will not be in the River Danube, but in the canal that runs parallel to the Danube, which was also used during last year’s Collins Cup. This canal provides not only cleaner, but also calmer swimming water and a shorter run to T1. That might just be to the advantage of Frederic Funk, who often comes out of the water just behind the fastest swimmers and then has to rely on his strong bike, and then top it off with an extraordinary run. The German world-class athlete is considered one of the best middle distance athletes in the world with wins at Challenge Mallorca and Challenge Kaiserwinkl-Walchsee qualifying him for this year’s race plus he has already placed third at The Championship in 2021.
However, Funk has to deal with Aaron Royle, known for his strong swim and bike and run, Thomas Bishop, who already has a second place at Clash Miami and a victory at Challenge Puerto Varas under his belt this season. And not forgetting Matt Hanson from the USA who was also on the podium in Puerto Varas and is especially feared because of his almost insanely strong run.
Among the women, defending champion Sara Perez Sala returns to Šamorín. The Spaniard has developed particularly fast in recent years and is getting stronger every year. Her victory at last year’s The Championship, when she won overwhelmingly leaving behind Emma Pallant-Browne, Lucy Buckingham, Fenella Langridge and Ashleigh Gentle, among others, was a crown to her already very successful career.
As well as Perez Sala, Langridge also returns to The Championship this year and after winning the 2022 Challenge Family World Bonus, Langridge will now be looking to add the prestigious win at The Championship to her resumé. The same goes for Lucy Byram: she finished ninth last year, but has kicked off 2023 with amazing form. Last month she picked up two spectacular victories in a row: first she won Clash Miami and only one week later she also managed to triumph at Challenge Puerto Varas putting her in serious contention for victory.
The Championship takes place at the Olympic training venue, x-bionic® sphere in Šamorin, Slovakia with short course national championship races on Saturday 20 May with the flagship middle distance race, featuring the 20m non-drafting rule, starting at 8:30am CEST on Sunday 21 May.