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Sullwald takes World honours for South Africa
- Updated: October 21, 2012
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa has another world champion, this time in the gruelling world of triathlon.
Young Wian Sullwald, just 19, blasted to victory in the 2012 ITU Junior World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand on Sunday.
The Pretoria-based youngster clocked 61min 44sec for the race, 14sec ahead of runner-up Simon Viain of France and a further second clear of bronze medallist Constantine Doherty of Ireland. The race was made up of a 750 metre swim, 20km cycle and 5km run.
His splits were 8:52, 35:31 and 15:46. His run was the fastes on the day and his victory margin of 14sec was the biggest winning margin of all six events during the weekend.
The victory will go a long way to wiping out any doubts Sullwald may have once had about making it on the big stage. He was eighth in the inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore two years ago and was then part of Team South Africa’s team at the All Africa Games in Maputo, Mozambique last year where he ended third behind Erhardt Wolfaardt.
That was after a stomach upset the night before. Thereafter he had a lengthy battle with sickness, suffering middle ear infections and other afflictions. But this year Sullwald, originally from Warmbad, won the junior elite event at African championships and claimed his third junior African title.
At previous world championships events, Sullwald had also been plagued by misfortune, crashing on the bike in Budapest and then passing out in Beijing last year.
Earlier South Africa’s Olympian Richard Murray had ended ninth in the elite men’s category with a 2:02:00 finish as 2012 London Olympic bronze medallist Jonathan Browlee (2:00:31)had ended second behind Javier Gomez (2:00:29).
His top 10 finish means he ends the year ranked fourth overall, not bad going for someone still relatively new to the world of triathlon.
And in the women’s race it was his fellow Olympian Gill Sanders who ended 32nd in 2:19:48 as Germany’s Anne Haug won in 2:10:48.
“Today’s race was one to forget, just felt totally pooped and my body has now decided enough is enough ÔÇô┬áone race too many and time for a break after the most amazing, wonderful year. Would’ve loved to finish on a high today but not to be-Olympics were always the priority and I can hold my head high with that and my other results this year,” said Sanders.