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Gill, Murray take titles
- Updated: April 2, 2012
By Mark Etheridge
Richard Murray and Gillian Sanders cemented their good form of late with victories at the African triathlon championships in hot and humid Mauritius at the weekend.
More importantly they also got that much closer to being part of Team South Africa at the Olympic Games in London later this year.
Murray has had a stellar last 12 months, the only blip being his pulling out of last month’s Africa Cup event in Port Elizabeth but he and Sanders were both on song at the Le Morne venue.
Murray clocked 1hr 52min 52sec for the 1500-metre swim, 40 kilometre cycle and 10km run to beat runner-up and All Africa Games champion Erhard Wolfaardt by three minutes with Johannesburg based Zimbabwean Chris Felgate third in 1:56:42. Czech athlete Filip Ospaly was second overall but was ineligible for the African championships podium.
London based Sanders pulled ahead in the running leg and went on to win in 2:13:07 from Carlyn Fisher and Australian based Kate Roberts.
It’s Murray’s second African Championships win and he has now gained the continental slot for the Olympic Games but the decision still lies with Triathlon South Africa.
“I had an average swim with a few issues that saw me 40sec down after the swim,” Murray told Road to London 2012. “Then with Wikus Weber on the bike and Chris Felgate, my team mate from the BSG Elite team, we worked well together until the last hill where I realised I needed to go to catch Erhard Wolfaardt and Filip.
“I caught them with a mere 4km to go and then hoped that I was able to gain some strength for the run leg of the race. But I had a great transition and was feeling good for the whole run.”
Clearly he was feeling fine because when he hit the finish line, he’d notched up the quickest run of the day by far, a fine 32min 46sec leg.
“The crowd was great and it was good to see BSG CEO Greg Reis there.┬á I have now won back to back African titles, and move that bit closer to Olympic qualification.”
The women’s race saw 2008 Beijing Olympian Kate Roberts first out of the water in 21:11, followed by Sanders and Fisher 18 and 21sec adrift respectively.
Sanders had the quickest bike leg in 1:13:12, five second quicker than Fischer and 20sec faster than Roberts and the three were neck and neck out of the final transition.
It was Sanders who again put her running skills to good use and she covered the 10km in 37:32 to beat Fischer by 1:09 and Roberts by a further 3:09.
The victory means Sanders snatches the continental qualifying spot for the Games and Roberts’ higher ranking over the qualification period means she’s still in the top 20 Olympic rankings and South Africa could possibly be able to send two women to the Games.
Murray and Sanders will now both jet off to Australia for the Sydney leg of the Dextro World Series in two weeks time.