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SA triathletes ready

By Mark Etheridge
in Maputo

Team South Africa’s first crack at a medal at the 10th All Africa Games will come on Sunday morning, starting on the shores of the bay in Maputo as the code of triathlon makes its Games debut.

Our five triathletes will be in action ÔÇô two men and three women ÔÇô and it should be a given that there’ll be a handful of medals.

Three of the team have already had a taste of Maputo. Erhard Wolfaardt and youngsters Wian Sullwald and Carlyn Fischer were in action at the African Championships in July. The other team members are Andrea Steyn and Lauren Dance.

Wolfaardt was fourth across the line on that occasion but will be a strong contender this time out with none of the first three in action, while young Wian Sullwald has come on in leaps in bounds since ending eighth at last year’s inaugural Youth Olympics in Sydney.

Of the girls only Fischer was at the African Championships in the Under-23 category and Sullwald was in the junior categories.

Team manager Lindsey Parry says that with a team of this quality he would expect four medals. “It could even be five,” he says, “but you never know whether someone gets a puncture or something else goes wrong.”

The three main threats to SA domination are Namibia’s Abraham Louw and Morocco’s Mehdi Essadiq in the men’s race and Fabienne St Louis of Mauritius in the women’s race.

Says Fischer, a 20-year-old busy with the third year of a law degree at Tukkies in Pretoria, of her African experience where she was second in the Under-23 category: “The sea was nice and flat but the roads were a bit tricky with some sand and a few potholes and the beach area had a few obstacles but I’m sure that’s all been sorted out now.’

Steyn, for one is itching to race, and with good reason after being sidelined with injury for most of the year, the most restrictive being a stress fracture of her left femur.

“I raced SA champs in March but since then my only race was a duathlon in Potchefstroom two weeks ago. At the moment its the running that needs the most work in my comeback. The swimming and cycling are not too far behind though. I’m just looking to see what my overall fitness is like at this race but obviously want to do as best I can,” said the 27-year-old Pretoria physiotherapist.

The race will be held over the traditional sprint distance of a 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run with men going off at 8am and women 30 minutes later.

And it’s certainly going to be something of a hit and run on Sunday. Parry, along with Fischer, Dance and Sullwald rush off to the airport , fly to Johannesburg and the very next day its off to Beijing, China for the World Championships.


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