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Koll relishes the eastern experience

Our Caroline Koll finished fourth at the recent Weihai ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Series Event, a race in which she battled somewhat, due to missing training time as the result of injury. However the experience Caroline had in Weihai is one that will remain with her forever.

Censorship was something Caroline had to come to terms with in China. ÔÇ£Regretfully, China is not a free country when it comes to press freedom, and many Internet sites are censored or banned. Sometimes, traveling and competing in other countries makes┬áme realise just how lucky I am to live in a country, where the rights of everyone, and freedom is guaranteed by law. That said, the people that I encountered in China, made sure that I would have an experience that I would never forgetÔǪÔÇØ

One of the more ÔÇ£outlandishÔÇØ experiences for Caroline was the constant media attention. Television crews, photographers and journalists were everywhere looking for a story and going to extreme lengths to get their story. All of which is not easy when English is hardly spoken. She must have thought she was in a movie, when during a taxi trip on her way from Yantai to Weihai, a vehicle started to chase the taxi she and fellow athlete Laurent Martinou from France were driving in. It turns out the vehicle belonged to a local television crew who insisted on doing the interview with Caroline in their van. A similar experience awaited her at the hotel when yet another crew ÔÇ£bargedÔÇØ into her room for yet another interview.

The language factor also created very interesting experiences. With English not spoken much Caroline had to make use of sign language and gestures. No doubt when ordering food this was no easy task, especially as Caroline is vegetarian. Still, Caroline and the rest of the entrants were able to enjoy some sightseeing and Chinese festivities before the racing.

There is no doubt that Caroline had the ÔÇ£experience of a lifetime in WeihaiÔÇØ and she tells her story so well on her blog http://www.carolinekoll.co.za/?p=654.


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