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SA triathletes win bronze

By Mark Etheridge

Our South African men’s team sweated their way to a bronze medal at the 11th World University Triathlon Championships in Taiwan on Saturday.

And Pretoria University’s Wikus Weber fared best in the individual competition, missing out on a podium place by just one spot as he took fourth place.

Best of the women was Mari Rabie’s eight spot.

As is customary for the Far East at this time of the year, the competition, in Yilan County, was held in sweltering conditions and the women started their river race swim (8am) with the water temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celcius!

Athletes were wary of the conditions and conserved themselves during the swim leg.

Our three South Africans were All Africa Games champion Carlyn Fischer, Rabie and Rosalyn Laurens.

Rabie exited the water in third with a pack of 11 girls, Laurens was out 55 seconds later in pack No2 with Fischer in the third pack.

But Fischer wasn’t looking at all comfortable and the Pretoria University student suffered an asthma attack 15km into the bike leg and had to pull out.

After the bike Rabie came out of T2 in fourth place with a pack of eight and no sooner had they started the run did those hunting the medal places make their move.

With temperatures soaring the race became a survival bid and Rabie did well to take eighth spot and Potchefstroom’s Laurens 16th.

The men’s race saw conditions even more uncomfortable as Dustan McLarty of the USA saw a sizable lead after the swim grow with each lap on the bike as the chasing pack had decided to conserve their energy and not chase hime.

Boasting a 3min lead after the bike the effort was too much and he had to pull out 6km into the run.

The South Africans conserved their energy well on the bike and as the run went on, slowly picked their way up the field as the temperature climbed to 35 degrees.

Central Gauteng’s Weber ran himeself into an awesome fourth place and Wian Sullwald, aged only 19 and a competitor at the inaugural Youth Olympics two years ago, once again showed maturity beyond his years with a ninth place finish.

The third South African man, Rudolf Naude put on a gutsy display and despite cramping from the 7km mark on the run, still finished well in 19th place.

The South African men’s combined efforts saw them take the bronze medal in the team event with Japan taking silver and France gold.


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