The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that Sam Long, Danielle Dingman, Magnus Ditlev and Renee Kiley have been selected as wildcards for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA®.
In Sam Long and Magus Ditlev we see the young guns of the sport, rightfully stepping up to a championship calibre competition. Both in their early 20’s, their recent performances have announced the arrival of what may be the new guard for the PTO and professional triathlon and the pair could well be battling it out for the next decade. In their first clash at the PTO 2020 Championship, we may witness a transcendental moment in sport that has not happened since Nadal and Federer first locked horns over 15 years ago and began a rivalry that brought tennis to new heights and still continues to this day.
Danielle Dingman and Renee Kiley represent the unique time-honoured tradition of age-groupers progressing to the professional ranks. Both were on their way to breakout seasons and poised to move up the PTO World Rankings for 2020 when COVID-19 struck, eliminating all opportunities to advance up the rankings into automatic qualifying spots. Kiley’s performance at Cairns was at the level of an automatic qualifier, while Dingman’s victory at the PTO Supported Bear Lake triathlon, besting the PTO World No. 10, clearly indicated she was in good enough form to be awarded a wildcard spot.
Charles Adamo, Executive Chairman of PTO, commented, “In our fourth-round wildcard selections, our focus was on Category 2 of our published criteria. This covers newer professionals who, because of the COVID impact on racing and the freezing of the PTO World Rankings, did not have the opportunity to establish a high enough ranking to be an automictic qualifier, but whose recent form showed them capable of being competitive with the automatic qualifiers. These are difficult decisions, but we are very pleased with our choices and in Long, Ditlev, Dingman and Kiley we believe we have identified PTO Professionals worthy of a wildcard selection.”
Sam Long, the rising young American star, commented, “The PTO 2020 Championship is going to be epic, and I am thrilled to have been selected to be a part of it. It is fantastic professionals have all come together to form the PTO. This will be the greatest race EVER, and the best thing about it is that this is OUR race and the PTO is OUR organization. I am ready to give triathlon fans the race they have all been waiting for.”
On hearing of her wildcard selection, Australian Renee Kiley stated, “Very excited to receive the news I’ve been selected as a Wildcard entry to the biggest and most exciting racing opportunity of the year. I have put in some very hard work on the training track throughout 2020 and have stayed extremely focused and motivated week after week. I can’t wait to test myself again against some of the biggest names in triathlon. I am very proud to be a PTO professional. Their support has been critical to the survival of many professionals in this very challenging year. And, it cannot be underestimated how important their involvement is for both professionals and the wider triathlon community in ensuring a healthy and prosperous future of our sport”
Mangus Ditlev, the young Danish athlete, commented, “It is an honour to have been selected as a wildcard for the PTO 2020 Championship. As a young professional, to be part of an event that will have the greatest field in the history of our sport is mind blowing. I am very grateful to the PTO for all the work they have been doing to support triathlon and make the sport better for the next generation of professionals.”
American Danielle Dingman, added, “I am excited about participating in the PTO 2020 Championship and thankful for being selected as a wildcard. Ever since I turned pro a few years ago, the professional community had been welcoming and supportive and that comradery is what is great about our sport. I was very fortunate that I had the opportunity to race some PTO supported some races and was able to display my current form. There are many qualified and talented athletes, so to be considered and selected is a huge privilege.”
The PTO 2020 Championship CHALLENGEDAYTONA® will be the highlight of a difficult year and will see the world’s top triathletes competing for a $1,000,000 prize purse. With the top 40 PTO World Ranked athletes and the PTO wildcard selections, the field for the PTO 2020 Championship will be the strongest ever assembled.
The next set of four wildcard selections for the PTO 2020 Championship at CHALLENGEDAYTONA® will be announced at 15:00 BST on 22th October.
There are still places available for the age group events at CHALLENGEDAYTONA® and those interested can register here.