Japan’s Kenji Nener leads the line at first Hong Kong World Cup

20 March, 2024 | español

Japan’s Kenji Nener leads the line at first Hong Kong World Cup

The 2024 season ramps up this weekend, when the inaugural World Triathlon Cup Hong Kong takes over the city on Sunday morning for some fast and furious sprint-distance racing.

After the cancellation of WTCS Abu Dhabi, the second race of the year after the Napier season opener has assumed even greater importance for many on the start list as they chase not just the form that will earn the medals here, but the points that could help them secure a place at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

The sprint distance race gets underway with a 750m swim in the iconic harbour, followed by a 20km bike over 5 laps before a 5km, 2-lap run to the finish in the city’s famous Bauhinia Square. Watch the race live and on demand on TriathlonLive.tv.

Nener hunts first World Cup title

A multiple Asia Championships winner and 14th-place finisher at Tokyo 2020, Japan’s Kenji Nener has yet to podium at a World Cup or Series level and knows that the timing couldn’t be better if he was to see out the win in Hong Kong.

Back-to-back Series top 10s in 2023 in Cagliari and Montreal showed he is as happy over the sprint or Olympic distance, and Nener will want to test his ability to close things out over the final stages of the run on Sunday and set himself on a positive early path to Paris with his qualification all but guaranteed.

Paris the ultimate prize for Priester

With the German men’s and women’s triathlon flying in 2023, the team’s Olympic squad filled up fast, with the third and final men’s spot all that is left to be decided. Lasse Nygaard Priester will be among those on the list of possibles, his win in Karlovy Vary and excellent displays in Miyazaki, Valencia and Weihai last campaign all underlining his medal potential if he can haul himself into contention on the bike.

The Spanish men continue to share the spoils at World Cup level, and it will be fascinating to see which of their ever attack-minded members will hit the highs in Hong Kong. While Antonio Serrat Seoane is the top-ranked here, it is David Castro Fajardo and David Cantero Del Campo who know what it is like to win World Cup gold. Add in the firepower of Alberto Gonzalez Garcia, and any of that quartet could be on for gold if they are on their game.

Hungarians in push for three Paris places

With Csongor Lehmann’s Olympic place assured, who and how many Hungarian men will join him is the question. Bence Bicsak (ranked 24th) knows what it is to podium in the big races but has to go back to that run to bronze at WTCS Abu Dhabi 2021 for his finest hour to date, while swim powerhouse Mark Devay (ranked 26th) finally hit the World Cup podium in Karlovy Vary last year. The longer both can hold firm in the top 30, the closer a Paris start becomes.

McDowell Tokyo 2020

For the USA, Olympic Mixed Relay medallist Kevin McDowell returns after a long lay-off following surgery that kept him off the blue carpet in 2023, Darr Smith, Matthew McElroy and Seth Rider all among the names hoping to join Morgan Pearson on the team for Paris. Martin Sobey goes out as currently the third-ranked Canadian in 52nd but within almost 200 points of Charles Paquet in 44th.

Home favourite could kick on in Hong Kong

Currently in contention for the New Flag spot and raring for his first home World Cup is Jason Tai Long Ng, the 24-year-old who put together an excellent silver here in November’s Asian Cup and will know the course better than most.

Chile’s Diego Moya took 7th place in Miami’s continental championships and will relish his first World Cup start of the year, Shachar Sagiv’s 4th place in Napier set him on course for a Paris starting berth for Israel, and rising Greek talent Panagiotis Bitados – 4th in the U23 World Championships Pontevedra - opens up his 2024 campaign.

Austrian duo Tjebbe Kaindl and Alois Knabl could be two to watch after some eye-catching displays in 2023, Azerbaijan’s experienced Rostislav Pevtsov took yet another World Cup medal in Chengdu last October and can never be written off, and Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle, a two-time Series gold medalist, kicked to third in the Oceania Championships as he chases his best form.

World Triathlon Cup Hong Kong
24 March, 11.05am local time
Start lists can be found here.
Watch on TriathlonLive.tv


hong kong world cup kenji nener antonio serrat seoane

event website

2024 World Triathlon Cup Hong Kong

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