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Leading SA trio slug it out for continental title in East London
- Updated: March 19, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
The women’s race at Sunday’s African and South African triathlon championships is shaping to be a three-way duel in East London.
Slugging it out for the title in a small elite field of seven women will be Commonwealth team silver medallist Gill Sanders, the ever-improving Mari Rabie and Australian based Anel Radford.
Saunders jetted in from London on Friday and will be looking to translate her fine training form into race results after the Abu Dhabi leg of the WTS calendar where lost ground in a hard-fought swim leg.
She told Road to Rio 2016: ‘I’m very excited first up and second up I’m excited to fight for the African title.
‘It’s been mine for the past four years and I’ll do everything in my power for a fifth.
‘It’s so great that our girls are getting stronger as this can only push everyone further and create excellence. I’ve put Abu Dhabi behind me, I know I’m in great shape so it’s time to go and prove that in a race!’
Rabin, who had a a major health setback with heart problems two years ago, is getting stronger and stronger and ended 13th in Abu Dhabi.
‘I’m just ticking along in training now and focusing on the process. It’s a different type of racing when you have a startlist this small.’
After Sunday’s race, the Stellenbosch based athlete heads of to Australia to join her international training group for a spell.
Staying with Australia and Radford jetted in from Down Under late this week for a race on home soil.
‘I had a good build up to the 2016 season. I spent a month with the Wizards training group at altitude in Falls Creek, Australia before we moved to Wollongong for the remainder of our pre season training.
I put in a lot of hard, consistent work during this time and was really excited to toe the start line for the first race of the season at the Mooloolaba World Cup last weekend.
‘It has been good to see improvements in so many areas in training over the last couple of months but to see it come through under the pressure of racing is what it’s all about.
‘I finished in 28th position in Mooloolaba where 60 seconds separated 20 positions. It’s not the result I was looking for but I was really happy with the processes I put in place during the race. I am excited to race in the African Champs in East London this weekend
‘It’s always special racing at home and also another good opportunity to see the improvements come through in a race. I’ve had some bad luck racing in East London, one year I woke up in the medical tent to find out I collapsed 100m from the finish line from food poisoning. So I definitely have some unfinished business here!’