Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Organisers Cut Ironmen Ironmen Culled; Nutri-Grain Series Numbers Reduced to Boost Quality

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Organisers Cut Ironmen Ironmen Culled; Nutri-Grain Series Numbers Reduced to Boost Quality

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Zemek steve.zemek@scnews.com.au

SURF LIFESAVING: Numbers in this season's Nutri-Grain ironman and ironwoman series will be cut to 16 in an attempt to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Series promoter Guy Leech said yesterday that the change had been made to make the series more closely fought after several competitors in last season's 20-person male and female fields failed to keep pace.

A number of the series backmarkers did not crack the top 15 in any of the six rounds and Leech said the decision was made to keep the series as competitive and exciting as possible.

C[pounds sterling]There were certain athletes who weren't on the pace, in any race,C[yen] Leech told the Daily.

C[pounds sterling]The whole idea is we want the sport's best athletes on television. It's got to be tight racing and competitive.

C[pounds sterling]Until the sport has more depth and more athletes capable of competing, that's the way it is.

C[pounds sterling]It will increase if it deserves to be increased, but at the moment the whole idea is we want the best crop going through.C[yen]

Last season, 10 automatic qualifiers were joined by seven trialists and three wildcards.

For the 2012-13 series that has been reduced to 10 automatic qualifiers, one qualifier from the Australian Surf Life Saving Championships and five trialists.

Leech said the organisers had also reserved the right to admit one or two wildcards at their discretion.

Leech said the total prizemoney pool would increase from $396,000, but it had not been determined by how much.

Series competitor Matt Poole said he expected the move would increase the quality of racing.

C[pounds sterling]The first 15 in the series are pro athletes and supremely competitive,C[yen] he said. C[pounds sterling]That makes it hard for anyone to come in at that elite level.

C[pounds sterling]You can look across the line and you can have 10 really strong competitors who can win any race. …

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