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Gill stars in Japan

Our triathletes are stepping up to the plate as the race to the London Olympics hots up, writes Mark Etheridge.

Last week it was Richard Murray who sprinted to silver at the Sydney leg of the ITU World Series and on Sunday it was the turn of Gill Sanders to stamp her mark in the cut-throat world that is international triathlon.

The London based Sanders was less than 30 seconds from sealing a podium finish at the ITU World Cup event in Ishigaki, Japan.

She clocked 2hr 06min 30sec for the 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run event as winner Kathy Tremblay of Canada won in 2:05:38. Ireland’s Aileen Morrison (2:05:58) and Tremblay’s teammate Sara-Anne Brault rounded out the podium in 2:06:03.

The other South African woman in action was All Africa Games champion Carlyn Fischer who ended 19th in 2:09:07.

Sanders is well aware that her swimming is the weakest point in her armour and when she exited the water she was 25sec adrift of Tremblay. A fine bike of 1hr 11min 41sec, the second quickest of the day, saw her close up a little and then she had a solid run of 35:35 to round things off. The medallists had runs of 34:49, 35:05 and 35:07 respectively.

Her fourth place saw her moved 15 places up the Olympic rankings from 68th to 53rd spot as she looks to nail down a definite spot at the Games. Kate Roberts, who didn’t compete in Japan, is still 16th despite having a wretched 2011 but her fine form in 2010 has kept her right up there.

Meanwhile in the men’s race All Africa Games winner Erhard Wolfaardt ended 13th. The race was won by France’s David Hauss in 1:50:06 with Wolfaardt just over a minute back in 1:51:19.


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