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Murray and Schoeman ready to fly SA flag in Cape Town

By Mark Etheridge

Home boy Richard Murray will probably be one of the first elite athletes at Sunday’s World Triathlon Series final at the Waterfront to be dipping his toe into the Table Bay waters.

And don’t be surprised if he’s hoping for a bone-chilling experience! Saturday’s women’s final saw the swim being halved in distance to 750 metres and really playing into the hands of the stronger bikers and fleet-footed runners.

Biking and even more so running are Durbanville based Murray’s strong points and it’s always been the slight lag on the swim that have seen him play catch-up in the other two codes. Halve the swim and half his battle is won.

Murray has one of the fastest run-legs in the field and will be hoping a dream comes true and he can win the continent’s first WTS race on African soil. His job is still going to be tough with Spain’s Javier Gomez in the field although the fact that one half of the Brownlee brothers, Alistair, has not made the trip south due to lack of fitness.

That still leaves Gomez though, winner of this year’s first race in the series in Auckland, New Zealand and the other Brownlee brother, Jonathan to deal with, along with Gomez’s countryman Mario Mola, winner of the Mooloolaba World Cup event in Australia earlier this year.

Throw in African champion Henri Schoeman and we have a molten melting point of tri-talent.

Said Murray:ÔÇ£Training has been going great. I mostly did sharpening up before the Cape Town race. I am very keen to see how the past five months’ training has gone and how I will perform this early in the season.

ÔÇ£With four races under the belt, I feel confidant and sharp leading into the Discovery World Triathlon Cape Town.

ÔÇ£With a few other African boys on the start line, with family, friends and sponsors in support it is going to be something very special for me. I am super-amped to race against the best triathletes at home. ÔÇ£Triathlon and Cape Town are getting some great exposure and publicity. Our sport really needs this. For the athletes and the sponsors.ÔÇØ

For Schoeman’s part, right, he missed nationals in East London due to an ankle injury in Auckland but bounced back strongly to win African champs in Troutbeck, Zimbabwe two weeks ago.

“Training in Stellenbosch has gone really well and I’m happy with the improvement I’ve made in a short time already.” he told Road to Rio 2016.

“With my injuries getting better I have had much better consistent training. It is unfortunate that Alistair won’t be racing. If there is a breakaway it would be better to have another strong athlete in the group.

“There is a chance that the swim might change to 750m because of the water temperature being too cold for some. So, having said that the entire race dynamics can/will change so we could expect anything really. I am hoping for a breakaway on the bike as I love a pure triathlon where there is a battle on the swim, bike and run and not leaving the entire triathlon to come down to a run race.”

Although he’ll be wearing Aussie green and not South African green, one athlete, with a hugely proud mother, will also be worth watching on Sunday .

That man is young Ryan Baillie, pictured right.

His story is that he was born in Johannesburg but emigrated to Perth at the age of six and this is his first time back in South Africa. His proud mom is none other than Kerry Baillie, no mean athlete herself and a former winner of the old Vaal Marathon, which gave her the title of Transvaal champion at the time in the late 1980’s.

Ryan was recently named on the Aussie squad for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

The elite men’s race is scheduled to get underway at 3pm and hopefully will not be delayed for 30min like the women’s event on Saturday.


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