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Sullwald clawing his way up international rankings list

A series of solid results has seen our junior world champion, Wian Sullwald take some big strides up the international triathlon world rankings list.

Sullwald was in action last weekend in the Tiszaujvaros ITU Triathlon World Cup in Hungary where he finished second in his semi-final and eighth in the final. The time gap between the first eight athletes was a mere 25 seconds.

The competition, consisting of a 750-metre swim, 20 kilometre cycle and 5km run, was won by Florin Salvisberg (Switzerland) in a time of 53min and 46sec. Fransesco Godoy (Spain) was second in 53:54 and Frederic Belaubre (France) third in 53:58. Sullwald’s time was 54:10.

Impressive about Sullwald’s performance was that he was able to increase his speed by almost a full minute from the semi-final to the final that took place the next day. His time in the semi-final was 55:02.

This is the first season that Sullwald is competing for ranking points. In January he was ranked around 240th but after his good results in Hungary he is now currently ranked 75th and the only way is up.

On the International Triathlon’s website it was reported that the final was a race in which the swim has become more important than ever.┬á Tommy Zaferes (USA) was fastest out of the water.┬á He was followed by Salvisberg, along with Ben Kanute (USA), Wian Sullwald (RSA), Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) and Belaubre (France).

These athletes were part of a lead group of nine, who quickly established a good lead on the bike. At the end of the two opening laps the gap was more than 30 seconds, with the lead group working well together to maintain the pace. But behind them, the remaining field was also working well together, maintaining their rhythm and refusing to allow the leaders to increase the gap.

Lap after lap followed with the two packs going for each other, gaining a few seconds here and losing a few seconds there. It was nip and tuck, but the gap of about 35 seconds was still intact when the leading nine entered T2. During the run it was every man for himself.

Sullwald completed the last 5km in 15 minutes and 16 seconds. This result certainly proved that Sullwald is on track to achieve a good result in the Under-23-event of the ITU World Triathlon Championship in London (11 September) where he will aim for a top-five finish.

ÔÇ£I have to be realistic. It will take some doing to get the result I would like to at the world championships.┬áIt is a huge step up from competing in the junior ranks to competing in the pro-elite category. ÔÇ£Luckily, having competed in quite a few European events helped me to become much stronger, not just physically but mentally as well.ÔÇØ

Richard Murray (currently fourth) and Henri Schoeman (20th) are the other two South Africans who are ranked in the top-hundred.


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