Kelowna in Ironman final three

City's push to win the right to host next year's Ironman Canada event lands it in the final three.

Kelowna has two competitors in the race to host Ironman Canada.

The World Triathlon Corporation, owners of the Ironman Canada event, announced on the weekend that Kelowna is one of  three finalists in the bid to host the 2013 event, along with Whistler and Huntsville, Ontario.

The race, which has been held in Penticton for the last 30 years, wil move next year after the Peach City declined to renew its contract with the WTC.

Last week, Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray skipped the annual Union Of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria to lead a delegation of city officials to Tampa, Florida, to lobby directly for the Ironman event here next year.

Dropped from the running was four other communities, including Vernon, which wanted host the the popular triathlon event.

The WTC said the selection of the three Canadian communities was based on criteria as stated in the bid process that closed on Sept. 24.

As part of the next phase in the selection process, WTC staff will conduct in-depth visits to each finalist community.  An announcement naming the host community, as well as additional event-related details, is expected by mid-October.