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Success for Sanders in France as Sullwald still seeks peak form
- Updated: June 18, 2015
London Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games team silver medallist Gillian Sanders has added another title to her collection, this time in France, writes Mark Etheridge.
The London-based Sanders’ last race was on ‘home’ soil as she ended 17th in a London sprint event late last month. That was just after a top five finish at the World Triathlon Series in Yokohama, Japan.
At the weekend, Sanders won a French Championships Division Two event, also over the sprint distance. She covered the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run in 1hr 1min 15sec and beat fellow international, Fabienne St Louis of Mauritius (1:02:12) by just under a minute.
Both competed in the colours of French club Team Charentes Triathlon. Sanders, pictured en route to victory, recorded splits of 10:33, 33:22 and 17:22 for the three individual codes.
‘It was a fun, chilled out, no-pressure race,’ Sanders told Road to Rio 2016 from London.
‘I felt comfortable throughout and used it as a really good, hard training session. The French like South Africans… I think because of our rugby, so I was well supported.
‘It was a good race to do in preparation for Hamburg in a month. Next up will be a Bundesliga race on 28 June.’
On the other side of the Atlantic it was former world junior champion Wian Sullwald who was in action at a World Cup event in Huatulco, Mexico.
Sullwald has been struggling to put it all together and this time fears the long travel from South Africa to Mexico may have blown his chances.
He ended 17th in the sprint event, clocking 1:01:32, must over a minute behind winner Irving Perez of the host nation.
‘It definitely wasn’t what I wanted,’ he told Road to Rio 2016. ‘I had a plan to try and win a second World Cup race but I think the long travel (I left on Tuesday and only got here on Thursday afternoon) took it out of my body.
‘From the time I got there to the race I was feeling heavy. I tried to forget it and just move on but things didn’t gel. Still I fought as hard as I could but as soon as the gun went off I knew there wasn’t much to give! I tried to keep it together and at the end of the day managed an OK result and I gained a bit on the ITU and Olympic ranking so I guess I can’t ask for much more than that.
‘Now it’s back here for some downtime and then on to France and hopefully a breakthrough race in a World Series race.’
In the same race, youngster Basson Engelbrecht took 37th spot in 1:02:58.
The women’s race saw a better return for South Africa with Anel Radford making top 10 with her seventh spot finish in 1:07:43 as Chile’s Valentina Carvallo won in 66:20.
Further down the field and former African Games champion Carlyn Fischer was 33rd in 1:15:02.
Sullwald has moved up to 44th on the ITU points list from 52nd and in the Olympic rankings is 81st, a six-place improvement.