Budd set for her biggest event

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2000, 12:00am

Nicole Budd may stand at the crossroads of her sporting career but she has made her choice on her road to romance.

Tonight, Hong Kong's top female triathlete will head for Hawaii with fiance and coach Ian Rayson - a former Asian number one - for their wedding next week.

'We decided to get married in Hawaii because we want the wedding to be held near the beach. About 20 people, including our families, will be travelling with us.

'Although I competed in the Hawaii World Ironman Championship last October, it will be held at a different island,' a delighted Budd said.

The 28-year-old American, however, said she had a big problem - deciding whether to concentrate on standard triathlons or the gruelling ultra-distance Ironman events.

It is easy to understand Budd's dilemma if one looks at her results in both disciplines over the past year.

She won three legs of last year's Asian Cup Triathlon series, and she turned in fabulous performances over the longer distance, finishing sixth in the New Zealand Ironman three weeks ago and sixth in the Australian Ironman last May.

'I love to do both distances. But the Ironman is too tiring and if I keep on doing it, I won't be able to do that well in the shorter distance,' Budd said.

That issue would be resolved if she wins an Olympic ticket in triathlon at the Asian Championships in Japan late next month, which doubles as an Olympic qualifier.

'Yes, that will be decided if I qualify but the Olympics is not quite realistic for me. I hope to finish in the top 10,' she said.

Whether it be triathlon or Ironman, Budd is the consummate professional - she plans to keep training during her honeymoon.

'I'll feel guilty if I don't train. Although I won't have a bike, I'll still do some running and swimming there,' she said.