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Murray motors to Rio 2016 qualification spot in Brazil
- Updated: August 3, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
London Olympian Richard Murray toyed with a world class field on the running leg to all but book his place at the 2016 Olympics as he took third spot in Rio’s triathlon test event on Sunday.
Top three at the test event meant automatic qualification for next year’s Games, subject to any final discretion of Olympic governing body SASCOC.
Spain’s Javier Gomez won in 1hr 48min 26sec from France’s latest ace Vincent Luis (1:48:40) and Murray clocked the fastest run of the day, a blistering 30min 30sec 10-kilometre effort, to grab the final podium position in 1:49.01.
An excited Murray told Road to Rio 2016 from Brazil on Monday: ‘The big thing is to have qualified now. And I managed to do that on the run, going about a minute quicker than the front guys although they may not have pushing as hard as they needed.
‘It was very hot and humid conditions. The water felt alright to me after all the fuss made about the pollution, I’ve definitely swum in dirtier places before. To me it was pretty clean and smelt fine. I’m not throwing up this morning, which is always a good thing!
‘Then I had a good hilly bike ride. Got to T2 about 1:30-1:45 off the pace and then laid it on the line. I knew I had to put it all out there to walk away with a podium on the day.’
Murray now heads back to Europe where he’ll be fine tune his game in the Pyrenees. ‘This will be my second block of altitude training and it’s worth putting in all the time up in the mountains. Then the first week of September we head to Canada to race in Edmonton and then two weeks later its the grand final in Chicago.
‘It’s nice to have raced in Rio because by all accounts the course will be pretty much the same as we raced today.’
Murray’s other individual splits for the 1500m swim and 40km bike were 18:36 and 58:39.
The other South Africans didn’t fare as well as Murray, former world youth champion Wian Sullwald ending 29th with a 1:51:32 finish and Commonwealth Games team silver medallist Henri Schoeman 35th after fine swims and biking legs but a 35:06 run cost him many places in the final dash.
In the women’s race Gillian Sanders was 42nd in 2:06:47 as American Gwen Jorgensen won in 1:58.46. She was just five spots ahead of fellow South African Mari Rabie (2:07:15) while Vicky van der Merwe failed to finish the event.
Picture courtesy of Delly Carr/ITU