TT men's triathlon champion Jason Costelloe said he will miss competing at the 16th edition Rainbow Cup in Tobago which serves as the national triathlon championships. Costelloe is encouraging the TT Triathlon Federation (TTTF) to host national championships later this year once the covid19 pandemic eases, to give athletes an opportunity to compete.
Rainbow Cup organiser Jason Gooding confirmed with Newsday on Wednesday that the event will not be held as scheduled on June 13, instead, the next Rainbow Cup will take place on June 12, 2021. The event is one of the marquee events on the TT sporting calender as hundreds of local, regional and international athletes travel to Tobago to compete annually.
"Obviously I am disappointed (that Rainbow Cup will not be held), but of course due to the current circumstances it is totally expected and understandable," Costelloe said on Thursday.
Costelloe said the event has helped him develop as an athlete. "I will definitely miss the Rainbow Cup. It is the national triathlon championships and they always get a nice international field that comes down for the event so it gets me to a higher level to compete, to keep pushing my boundaries. The international athletes that come down are always on a whole other level to us, so it is always good to keep pushing my boundaries and I found that is what Rainbow Cup always did for me."
On Wednesday, current national women's champion Jenna Ross spoke about what makes the event so special.
"Definitely the location (is special), it is probably one of the more difficult Olympic distance courses I have ever done in the Caribbean or internationally. It is close to home so there is not a lot of preparation for travel and so on and the lure of the national title as well is always good too."
Costelloe called on the TTTF to fill the void and host the national championships later this year if possible.
"I do hope that the TT Triathlon Federation can host their own national championships maybe later on in the year - say September, October, November - possibly in Chaguaramas as they just repaved the majority of all the roads down there. They can host a very nice event in Chaguaramas with the nice courses they have down there. I do hope if and once the covid situation does boil down that the triathlon federation can host their own national events down in Chaguaramas."
Recently, TTTF secretary Karen Araujo told Newsday the federation is targeting the end of 2020 to have an event, if possible, to give athletes an opportunity to compete again and connect with friends and team-mates.
Costelloe said it is always an enjoyable experience when he competes at the Rainbow Cup. "The whole atmosphere that the race provides it is not just one event. You could be across there for numerous events if you want...it is always good to see such a well-attended event with so much people coming out."
The Rainbow Cup includes an Olympic triathlon, sprint triathlon, Olympic triathlon relay, a sprint triathlon relay and a 5K run/walk among other events. The categories include junior athletes.
The event has helped the sport grow in TT according to Costelloe. "I think it has done a lot in terms of hosting such a good event on such an international level. It has opened the eyes of all of the junior athletes as well too because we have past Olympians that have come down like Jason Wilson from Barbados...when these junior athletes see the potential that is out there it does open their minds a little bit and it gives them motivation to keep pushing (and) keep trying."