By The Observer Staff

Nevis’ own triathlon has gone big-time, winning endorsements from a major sports organization and the sport’s leading magazine, giving the competition two big boosts in advance of the March 16 starting gun.

“The Carino Health Spa Triathlon Nevis 2008 is shaping up to be the most successful one ever,” Winston Crooke of the Nevis Triathlon and Cycle Club said. “Both the International Triathlon Union (ITU) and Triathlete Magazine have within the last month given invaluable endorsements to the Federation’s most international annual sporting event.  Of the thousands of triathlons world wide, Triathlete magazine named the Nevis triathlon among its top five “Must-Do Races for 2008.’  The same magazine also published a story and photographs in its February 2008 issue about the 2007 race as the centre page spread.  In addition, the world governing body for triathlons, the ITU, recently sanctioned the race as a Continental Cup. This means that athletes from around the world can now attain world championship qualification points based on their results in the Nevis triathlon.”

These developments are significant for the Federation, Mr. Crooke said.

“They mean that millions of individuals around the world will be introduced to St. Kitts- Nevis for the first time by race day on March 16. It is also likely that hundreds will visit the Federation as a direct result, not just in this year but in years to come as the event continues to develop,” he said.

Organizers are continuing to work to raise the race’s profile on the international scene, Mr. Crooke said.

“The St Kitts and Nevis Triathlon Federation has been developing a relationship with the popular sports network ESPN through their interaction with ESPN journalist and pro triathlete Kathryn Bertine,” he said. “In fact, Kathryn Bertine visited St Kitts-Nevis with a film crew and photographer in December of 2007.”

The St. Kitts & Nevis Triathlon Federation and the Nevis Cycle & Triathlon Club are the organizers of the race.

“Both organizations are ecstatic about the achievements of the 2008 race thus far,” Mr. Crooke said. “From the beginning six years ago the club has had an objective to use the race as a vehicle to promote St. Kitts-Nevis as tourist destination and to positively impact the economics of the country. These achievements testify to the continued success in reaching these objectives.”

According to a press release, “In each of the last three years the Nevis Cycle & Triathlon Club, through its various events, has directly attracted enough individuals to the Federation to fill 75 percent of the hotel rooms on Nevis for five nights.”

Other events on the group’s calendar are the Cross Channel Swim on March 23 and the St. Kitts-Nevis National Triathlon Championships on April 13.