Wanaka triath­lete’s star on the rise


He trains six days a week with the aim of mak­ing a career out of triathlon and you wouldn’t bet against Wanaka’s Janus Staufen­berg do­ing just that.

Just two days af­ter win­ning the un­der-19 New Zealand Se­condary Schools’ Triathlon Cham­pi­onships in Whanganui in March, the 17-year-old Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege pupil went on to smash the 1500 me­tre record at the South Is­land Se­condary Schools’ Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships.

But triathlon is where Staufen­berg’s heart is, he says. ‘‘Triathlon is my fo­cus.

‘‘At the mo­ment I’m wait­ing for the an­nounce­ment of the world junior elite team.’’

If named later this month, Staufen­berg will travel to the Nether­lands at the end of the year to com­pete in the ITU Junior World Cham­pi­onships.

He’s never been be­fore and it’s largely thanks to his win at the Se­condary Schools’ champs that he’s in con­tention.

‘‘It’s fairly big I guess be­cause it’s a New Zealand ti­tle. I’ve been on the podium a cou­ple of times but never won it.’’

Triathlon runs in the Staufen­berg fam­ily, with younger broth­ers Julius, 15, and Leo, 14, also up-and-coming triath­letes. Both man­aged a top-five fin­ish in their re­spec­tive age groups in Whanganui.

The broth­ers do a fair bit of train­ing to­gether Janus says, with five to six swims and three to four runs and bikes a week, typ­i­cal dur­ing the sea­son.

Par­ents Anke and Uli and the staff at Mt As­pir­ing Col­lege are re­ally sup­port­ive, Janus says.

‘‘It does take a fair bit of time out [but] there’s definitely plenty of support.’’

Asked about a pro­fes­sional career in triathlon, Janus says: ’’It kind of de­pends on how the rest of this year goes but I have got plans to give it a crack.’’

The Staufen­bergs aren’t the only Queen­stown Lakes triath­letes performing well na­tion­ally.

Wakatipu High School’s Reuben Thomp­son was sec­ond in the un­der-16 grade at the Se­condary Schools’ champs.

The 16-year-old has high hopes of mak­ing it big too, ei­ther in triathlon, iron man or cy­cling.

Thomp­son will attend the New Zealand age group road cy­cling na­tion­als in May be­fore try­ing for a place in the Youth Olympics in Ar­gentina next year.

Janus Staufen­berg won the un­der-19 sec­tion of the New Zealand Se­condary Schools’ Cham­pi­onships last month.

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