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SA four in Oz

By Mark Etheridge

Sydney on Saturday sees the start of the ITU World Triathlon series 2012 and South Africa will be featured by a quartet of athletes.

No less than four of our top triathletes will do battle over the three-code event made up of a 1500 metre swim, 40 kilometre cycle and 10km run.

Cape Town’s Richard Murray is our sole men’s representative and the elite women’s field will see Gill Sanders, Kate Roberts and young Carlyn Fischer doing battle.

Murray has slogged his guts out to seal a place on the starting line-up. “This will be my first ever World Triathlon Series start with my own points which means I’ve really earned my place on the star line by working to gain ITU points through other ITU events,” he said proudly on Friday.

“I had both a great prep and event at Africa Championships in Mauritius and moving on to Wollongong here in Australia has been smooth and easy. Training has been going very well for the past week and I feel as though my bike and swim are on the rise,” he told Road to London 2012.

“With a bit of a hiccup at SA champs in Port Elizabeth [he suffered stomach cramps and had to pull out] I feel like I’ve worked hard on my swim over the past few weeks, and feel like I shall have a good showing this Saturday!”

Chasing a spot on Team SA for the Olympic Games in London later this year Murray is realistic on his expectations. Late last year he ended second, his best international finish to date, in the ITU World Cup event in Huatulco, Mexico.

“I don’t want to put a whole lot of stress on myself for the event but I hope to finish top 20 at the end of the day. It will all come down to the swim once again so I hope to make the second pace and then claw my way up on the bike leg. I’m feeling fast though and ready for some pain!”

Of our women’s racers, Sanders won the African championships in Mauritius ahead of Fischer (2011 All Africa Games champion) and Kate Roberts who ended 2010 as the world’s seventh best triathlete. Since then she was bedevilled by sickness and injury but recent weeks has seen her clawing her way back to form.

Currently Murray and Sanders both have continental qualification spots for the Olympics but will be looking to rocket up the ITU Olympic rankings to further increase their chance of selection.

A field of 71 men and 69 women will line up for the 2012 event. In last year’s race Hendrik de Villiers was the only elite SA male and placed 52nd in 1hr 59min 11sec. Roberts was 54th in 2:08:56.


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