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SA favourites in Moz

Sunday’s African Triathlon Championships in Maputo, Mozambique is probably the widest open it has been for a long time.

Favourites to win will come from the South African contingent of Claude Eksteen, Hendrik de Villiers, Richard Murray and Travis Johnston.

Eksteen, De Villiers and Murray return from overseas campaigns with mixed fortunes. Murray was in the shape of his life when he won the 2011 ITU European Premium Cup in Brasschaat on 29 May. But then Murray had to deal with a bout of flu and has only recently returned to training.

De Villiers has based himself in China where he finished second at the Huangshan ITU Asian Premium Cup and eighth at the Weihai Asian Premium Cup on 28 May and 11 June respectively. Claude Eksteen finished fourth in the later race for his best race of 2011.

Travis Johnston is in fine form after his win at the recent SA Duathlon Championships in Cape Town. He will need to be at his best against the likes of Eksteen, de Villiers and Murray (even an out of sorts Murray) if he wants to add the African Triathlon Title to his SA Duathlon Title.

Rudolf Naude and Theo Blignaut will likely battle it out between the two of them for the Under-23 title, whilst Wian Sullwald is out and out favourite for the Junior Men’s race. Sullwald has improved in leaps and bounds after his eighth place finish at the inaugural Olympic Youth Games in Singapore in 2010. He then went on to win the Bled ETU Junior European Cup and was second at this year’s Tournai ETU Triathlon Junior European Cup on 30 April.