Inspiring champion triathlete coming to Wānaka for inclusive event
Shaz Dagg, New Zealand’s first elite para-triathlete, will be heading to Wānaka this February to take up her position as ambassador for the Mitre 10 Mega Challenge Wānaka Adaptive.
Ms Dagg took up triathlon after losing her left arm above the elbow, following a farming accident in 2016, and has gone on to win silver medals at the Paratriathlon World Cup and Oceania Championships, as well as being the first female amputee to complete the Coast to Coast, New Zealand’s toughest multisport competition.
Organisers say having Ms Dagg as an ambassador for the adaptive event is a perfect fit.
Ms Dagg says it's a "privilege and pleasure" to be named ambassador for the event.
"I hope that others like myself, who have some form of challenges in their daily life, will take up this challenge and give this incredible opportunity a go.
"It certainly changed my life and I hope I can give others the support and encouragement to be part of this inclusive sport.
"I can’t wait to see everyone on the start line ready to have some fun and to achieve a massive goal.”
Now in its third year, the Adaptive event will take place on Thursday, February 16, kicking off the Integrity Homes Challenge Wānaka Triathlon Festival.
The event is open to anyone over 10 years old, with an impairment (either intellectual or physical), with the course being customised in accordance with participants.
There is a course walk through and BBQ night before to familiarise athletes with the course. The event is growing year on year and has seen athletes coming from all over the region.
Challenge Wānaka race director Bill Roxburgh says the event has been "very para friendly" for many years.
"Our aim is to grow our adaptive offering. Having Shaz on board will hopefully inspire lots of budding adaptive athletes from across the country to have the confidence to come and take part.
Mark Watson, the general manager of Mitre 10 Mega Wānaka, says his business is proud to support events that embrace all ages and abilities.
"It's a great match for our values and passions. Best wishes to all athletes participating."
Entries are open now and details of how people can get in touch with the team are on the Mitre 10 Mega Challenge Wanaka Adaptive Triathlon page.
While in Wānaka, Ms Dagg will be taking on the Bay to Bay Swim. Starting on the beachfront near the Mount Aspiring Lookout carpark, this event is a 1.75-kilometre swim across stunning Glendhu Bay finishing in the race area.
“It’s been a while since I have been for a swim in the lake as it’s not my most favourite place but it’s always good to challenge ourselves and be out of our comfort zone and such a great feeling of achievement once we do it,” she says. “Get your entries in and come along and have a swim with Stumpy and myself.”
Entries for the Bay to Bay swim, and all other Challenge Wānaka events are open now and details can be found on their website www.challenge-wanaka.com.
Main image (Supplied/Sean Beale): Challenge Wanaka Adaptive Triathlon.