World champion Melissa Hauschildt will contest January's inaugural 70.3 half ironman in Auckland.
A Commonwealth Games silver medallist in steeplechase at Melbourne in 2006, the 29-year-old Australian took up triathlon three years ago, winning the world 70.3 title last year along with the Asia Pacific championship.
She struggled with an ankle injury for most of the 2012 season, but says she's still reasonably happy with her efforts this year.
"It has been disappointing not to have been able to run more, but I managed to spend more time on improving my bike and swim.
"I set some bike course records this year so hopefully with my running coming back, next year should be really good."
Hauschildt has her sights set on the 2013 Las Vegas half ironman world championship, and says Auckland is an important step along the way.
"Auckland is a big one for me because it is the Asia Pacific Championships," she said.
"It's good to be able to win the title races and I expect it will be a really tough field in New Zealand."
Ironman New Zealand champion Cameron Brown and two-time Olympic medallist Bevan Docherty are already confirmed starters for the January 20 event in Auckland.