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Some of Australia’s best Ironperson competitors will descend on the Cronulla beach strip this Saturday, with Wanda SLSC set to host the Bate Bay Gold endurance event for the second year.

The event is NSW’s answer to the iconic Coolangatta Gold, which ran last weekend north of the border after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Bate Bay Gold is a short course endurance event which challenges athletes from 15 years up in the disciplines of ski, swim, board and run and will offer a great hitout for athletes who were unable to get to Queensland for last weekend’s race.

Newport SLSC stablemates Lizzie Welborn, Jemma Smith, Jackson Borg and Zach Morris are among the names set to contest the Elite category – a 19km course which will cover the entire Bate Bay area – while surf sport veterans Tara Coleman and Mitchell Trim will also feature.

The course is 6km shorter than last year, where competitors took in Hungry Point, Port Hacking, Wanda and North Cronulla over a 25km total distance, again spread over four legs.

For her part, Lizzie will be looking to defend the inaugural title she earned with an impressive five-minute gap to clubmate and second-placed Emily Doyle. Jackson Borg, meanwhile, will aim to go one better this year after finishing an agonising second by just a minute in 2020.

Competition referee and Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Surf Sports, Don van Keimpema OAM said the competitive field will push the athletes to post very strong times.

“I’m looking forward to giving the athletes some exciting competition in what could be challenging conditions, given the weather report,” said Don.

“We were very pleased with the success of the event last year, which of course stood in place of the Coolangatta Gold after it was unfortunately cancelled, and it’s fantastic to see so many great athletes embracing it once again.

“We’re prepared, we’re ready to go – it’s going to be a fantastic way to more or less kick off the season and get a gauge of where our top athletes sit heading into the professional Iron Series.”

The Team events are also set to be stacked with talent, with locals Chris King, Jay Furniss, Nathan Smith and Mitch Allum among those who will split the legs with their teammates, while a shorter, 6km course is on hand for the U15 and U17 categories, incorporating a swim, board and run leg.

“The course this year is really well rounded – it will be challenging, but we’re confident that all participants, whether they’re in a team on competing individually, will take something from this event,” Don added.

A prize pool of $19,000 will be shared among the Elite category winners.

The Bate Bay Gold will officially start with the first elite wave at 8.30am Saturday, with marshalling, pre-screening and safety briefings conducted early. The race starts and ends at Wanda SLSC.

Friday 19 November 2021