Butch turns to triathlon
London - Legendary All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick and Bath flyhalf Butch James will be swapping Tri-Nations for triathlon when the pair line up together to compete and raise funds for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series event in Hyde Park, London on Sunday, July 25.
The pair will be joined by Sky Sports presenter, James Gemmell, to form a rugby relay team in the Olympic Distance triathlon event, competing over the same course that will determine the destiny of the London 2012 triathlon gold medal in two summers’ time.
Fitzpatrick is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, a unique association of 46 of the greatest living sporting legends, which is lending its full backing to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation’s Global Charity Partnership with the International Triathlon Union. While South African Rugby World Cup star Butch James is a member of the Laureus Friends & Ambassadors programme.
Helping Fitzpatrick and James prepare for the London event will be double Olympic decathlon gold medalist, Daley Thompson, who will be acting as coach to a team of Laureus’ fundraisers.
Fitzpatrick, who is regarded as one of the finest players ever to represent the All Blacks, is now juggling his preparation for the bike leg with his media commitments. He said: “Kiwis have always been pretty good at triathlon, with the likes of Bevan Docherty and Kris Gemmell up at the front - but perhaps an ex-rugby player is not best placed to continue that tradition. I’ll be looking to Butch to give us a good start in the swim and then make some headway through the field before handing over to James.
“I’m thrilled with the partnership that Laureus has signed up to. We have been looking at ways in which more people can get involved to give the gift of sport and with triathlon such a boom sport worldwide, this is a brilliant opportunity, which I’m happy to get behind.”
James, who is now playing for Bath in the Guinness Premiership, is looking forward to getting his team off to a flying start in the Serpentine amidst the washing machine start. He commented: “I’ve never done a triathlon before but it looks like a lot of fun. What goes on at the start doesn’t look too different from a Saturday afternoon at the Recreation Ground, so I’ll be ready!”
Butch James, Daley Thompson, Hugo Porta and Steve Waugh (File)