The news of the painful cancellation of the legendary Ironman in Hawaii in February reached the German champions at night. She didn’t come unexpectedly.
“Of course I’m very sad about this,” said defending champion Anne Haug of the German Press Agency, “but the decision is more than understandable given the current situation.”
The three-time champion Jan Frodeno said similarly. “A world championship is currently not feasible with athletes from all continents, we just have to continue to think and act even more regionally,” said the 38-year-old. “We have been considering alternatives for a long time and will now take a more concrete approach.” For 2014 world champion Sebastian Kienle, the cancellation also came as no surprise. He referred to the dramatic corona development in the United States. “Traveling is hardly possible,” said the 36-year-old.
At the same time as the press release, the cancellation of the coronavirus pandemic had reached the athletes’ mailboxes by personal email on Wednesday night. The bad awakening came in the morning. “We were hopeful that we could welcome our athletes, their families and fans to these events, but the ongoing influence of the pandemic makes that impossible,” said Ironman boss Andrew Messick.
After a postponement, the cult race for 3.86 kilometers swimming, 180.2 kilometers cycling and 42.2 kilometers running had been rescheduled from October 10 for February 6, 2021. “With a heavy heart” the cancellation was now announced. It is the first time since the premiere of the Hawaii race in 1978. The 2020 World Cup over half the Ironman distance will not take place either. “It is hard to make this decision in July, but it brings the necessary clarity for athletes, hosts and partners,” said Messick.
Defending champion Jan Frodeno had already criticized the postponement in May and suggested a cancellation. “At some point it makes it a bit silly to have a February world champion and an October world champion,” he emphasized.
The qualification criteria were also a problem, although they subsequently adjusted the organizers. Due to the global spread of the corona virus, no Ironman races took place this year, most recently the Ironman Hamburg, which was initially postponed to September, was canceled, the European Championship in Frankfurt did not and does not exist this year. “You don’t even know who should have started at the World Cup,” Kienle told the dpa.
Nevertheless, Frodeno & Co had already readjusted the training plans and started preparing for the climax and classic triathlon at the beginning of next year. However, Kienle recently crashed with the racing bike and suffered a broken collarbone. He is now training again.
The classic triathlon in Hawaii has been a German affair in recent years. Kienle established an era with his 2014 triumph. In 2015 and 2016, Frodeno won the world title before Patrick Lange (33) won twice in a row. In October 2019, Frodeno returned to the throne. Anne Haug (37) ensured the first victory for a German woman. At least she hopes for smaller competitions in Germany this year.
For the time being, Kienle does not expect that large triathlon competitions will soon be possible given the corona dangers. “Our sport is a join-in sport, a mass event,” he said. “We’ll be the last.”
Ultimately, all athletes have no choice but to hope for the World Cup in October 2021. “We will take it and look forward to the day when the greatest professionals and age group triathletes will come together to crown the world champions,” promised Ironman boss Messick.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200722-99-877997 / 5