Seychelles triathlete Nick Baldwin is hoping for a breakthrough in the Ironman 70.3 Ballarat on Sunday, December 11.
Baldwin, who has the distinction of being the first professional athlete to hail from the Seychelles – an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean off East Africa – knows Ballarat well.
He finished third to Matthew Pellow and Germany’s Per Bittner in the 113km event last year.
Baldwin is returning to Ballarat with impressive ironman form in a year which he launched with a top 10 finish in Dubai.
His latest outings included a third in Wales in September and seventh in testing conditions in Malaysia on November 12. He spaced these two events with a training regime in Seychelles.
Baldwin is among six overseas athletes who will be competing in the professional ranks in Ballarat.
He is joined by Simon Billeau (France), Denis Chevrot (France), Guy Crawford (New Zealand), Michael Louys (Belgium) and Bonnie Van Wilgenburg (United Kingdom).
Like Baldwin, Perth-based Crawford is looking to build on some strong results this year, which include top 10 finishes in Taiwan (twice), Malaysia, Korea (twice) and Japan. He was also an impressive 18th in the world championships in September.
Crawford’s latest performance was an eighth in the Taiwan Ironman in October.
Van Wilgenburg is from Scotland and has a background in extreme triathlons, having represented Great Britain in last year’s Trail World Championships.
MEN: Matthew Pellow, Tim Reed, Tim Van Berkel, Leon Griffin, Nick Baldwin (Seychelles), Sam Betten, Simon Billeau (France), Nathan Buschkuehl, Denis Chevrot (France), Guy Crawford (NZ), James Davy, Clayton Fettell, Peter Kerr, Mitchell Kibby, Michael Louys (Belgium), Alexander Polizzi, Joshua Rix, Nathan Shearer,Paul Speed, Leigh Stabryla, Daniel Stein, Samuel Tebek, Ryan Waddington, Fraser Walsh, Bell Luke
WOMEN: Annabel Luxford, Jessica Mitchell, Andrea Forrest, Kate Bevilaqua, Stephanie Demestichas, Katy Duffield, Jacqueline Henricks, Monica Juhart, Wendy McAlpine, Kirralee Seidel, Georgia Stott, Bonnie Van Wilgenburg (UK), Amanda Wilson
Ironman 70.3 Ballarat starts on Friday, December 9 with an expo at the event’s base at Lake Wendouree and athlete check-in.
The Saturday features an Ironkids race from 8am, while the main event starts at 7.30am on Sunday.