Video: Global triathlon chief hints at ‘long-term partnership’ with Leeds as 3D street art unveiled

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Leeds shoppers are being encouraged to ‘dive in’ to a piece of 3D triathlon-inspired street art, with the city’s World Triathlon Series debut just four weeks away.

Race organisers gathered at the Victoria Quarter, in Briggate, today to unveil an eye-catching image that creates the illusion of the ground opening up to reveal a glimpse of the Waterloo Lake pontoon with triathletes diving off into the water.

The launch marks one month to go until the Columbia Threadneedle World Triathlon Leeds sees the world’s top triathletes take on a 1.5km swim in Roundhay Park, a 41.5km bike ride from Roundhay to the city centre and a 10km run around the streets of Leeds on June 12.

Speaking at the unveiling of the artwork, Antonio Arimany, director general of the International Triathlon Union, suggested this year could be the start of a special sporting relationship with Leeds if the event proves a big splash.

“This is the first year and we want to start building from this year to the future,” he said. “We always like to have a long-term partnership with the cities and have an event sustainable for many years.”

He explained that the sport’s governing body took into account the city’s hosting of the Tour de France Grand Depart and the fact that the home of the Brownlee brothers is “very important for the sport” before backing the city’s bid.

Mr Arimany added: “I think we can build a very special event for the triathletes, people and TV that can create a reference worldwide.”

Jack Buckner, chief executive of race coorganisers British Triathlon, said: “We are hopeful that the feeling and atmosphere will be really special and in some ways it’s going to be more intimate than the Tour de France – it will be woven into the city.”

Leeds City Council leader, Coun Judith Blake added: “We would love Leeds to become the city known for heading up the World Triathlon Series.”

The launch of the street art, designed by art collective Media Gang, is part of a series of awareness raising stunts. The 18 metre-square piece, which will remain in the Victoria Quarter until Monday, was painted in acrylic by three artists over five days.

Amateur triathlete Mark Fagan with the art in the Victoria Quarter. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Amateur triathlete Mark Fagan with the art in the Victoria Quarter. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Manou Bendon, creative director at Media Gang, said: “It’s been designed to be interactive so people can take a picture with the artwork.

“Hopefully people will come this weekend and experience the fun and share their pictures online.”

Elsewhere shoppers were encouraged to hunt for a hidden golden swimming cap in the city centre using @LeedsTriathlon Twitter clues today, while a trio of life-size Lego sculptures of triathletes are due to go on display at Leeds shopping centres this month.

For further information visit leeds.triathlon.org.

Antonio Arimany, Coun Judith Blake, Mark Fagan, Jack Buckner and Manou Bendon at the launch of a piece of 3D triathlon-inspired street art. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Antonio Arimany, Coun Judith Blake, Mark Fagan, Jack Buckner and Manou Bendon at the launch of a piece of 3D triathlon-inspired street art. Picture by Simon Hulme.

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