Wollongong has the potential "to be massive" in terms of a venue for triathlons said the organiser of this week's Tri The Gong festival.
The two-day triathlon festival, organised by sports marketing company Elite Energy, was held at North Wollongong and featured events for a range of skill levels.
Elite Energy CEO and race organiser Mark Emerton predicted big things for Wollongong.
"Part of the idea behind this weekend is to showcase the area and the location and the logistics that can all work for an Australian championship," Mr Emerton said. "That's our goal - to get an Australian championship [event] here for the next three years."
He described Wollongong's location as ideal, partially because there is a cycle route - past Innovation Campus in Fairy Meadow - without a lot of houses. That means closing the road wouldn't inconvenience hundreds of residents.
"And there's a nice harbour where you can race all day," he said. "If you go to another location, by 10 o'clock in the morning you get the nor'easters blowing and it's a nightmare, but because the harbour here is pretty protected you can race all day long."
Mr Emerton said the event attracted a thousand more competitors than last year.
Yesterday, about 1600 people competed in four races, culminating in a qualifying event for the world championships in London next year.
He said there were about 600 racers taking part in a range of events including a triathlon for kids and an "Enticer" event for first-timers. Mr Emerton said this first-time event is part of the focus of Tri The Gong.
"What we do is we know how to market well to triathletes. What we try and do with this is market to non-triathletes," he said.
"So our Enticer race yesterday is only a 300-metre swim, an 8-kilometre cycle - which you can do on a mountain bike, BMX or whatever you want - and a 2-kilometre run or walk.
"Most people, when you say, 'Do a triathlon' will go, 'Oh I can't do that'. When you say, '300-metre swim, 8-kilometre cycle and two-kilometre run', they think, 'I can have a crack at that'.
"Once they've done that, they're hooked."