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Engelbrecht looks to be the X-factor at nationals
- Updated: March 17, 2016
Basson Engelbrecht (Tuks/HPC) is predicting Sunday’s pro-elite men’s race of the African and South African Triathlon Championships in East London will be decided during the final 10-kilometre run.
It may sound like the defending South African champion in this event is stating the obvious because pretty much nine out of 10 times, a triathlon race is won or lost during the run. But this time Engelbrecht has done his homework.
When he studied the results of the World Series race in Abu Dhabi, Engelbrecht noticed that South Africa’s Henri Schoeman led the 1.5km swim from start to finish. After his successful swim Schoeman performed reasonably well on the cycle, before coming unstuck on the run.
Schoeman’s bad performance during the run can be ascribed to injury woes which prevented him from running as he would have liked to.
Wian Sullwald (Tuks/HPC), who will be another definite contender, has been side-lined by a knee-injury which prevented him from competing in Abu Dhabi. He was only cleared by his doctor on Monday to compete on Sunday.
Although Sullwald is, according to his coach, Lindsey Parry, in excellent shape it’s uncertain how strong he will be on the run. During the past few weeks he could mostly just cycle and swim.
In spite of knowing about his two main rivals’ setbacks, Engelbrecht is not taking anything for granted.
‘Henri and Wian are both quality athletes. My experience as a triathlete pales in comparison to theirs, but this will not prevent me from going out there to prove a point. My goal will be to be the X-factor during the race.
‘My training has been going very well and I’m looking forward to test myself against Henri in the swim. As far as I’m concerned he is currently the best swimmer in international triathlon. Wian is also a strong swimmer. So the challenge for me will be to try to stay with them during the swim as well as during the cycle. If I I’m able to do so it could be quite an interesting race,’ said the Tuks/HPC athlete.
Parry, who also coaches Engelbrecht, reckons the pro-elite race will be exciting in spite of the relatively small number of athletes competing.
‘Basson is still a youngster and I cannot predict with any confidence that he will be able to defend his title, but I know he has the ability to give the other contenders a proper scare.
‘What excites me about Basson as a triathlete is his positive mind-set when it comes to racing. One of his good qualities is that he does not wait for things to happen during a race, but he still needs to learn that there are times when it is better to be slightly patient. He cannot always be the one who makes the racing.’