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Sullwald upbeat for Cape Town after coming unscathed through Chinese race
- Updated: April 20, 2016
Former world junior champion Wian Sullwald will be hoping to carry his encouraging form from east to west at Sunday’s Discovery World Triathlon sprint event in Cape Town.
Sullwald has had an assortment of injury setbacks, the latest being his knee, but a 12th spot at the World Cup in Chengdu, China last weekend gives him reason for confidence with the country’s top triathlete, Richard Murray out injured.
Sullwald (Tuks/HPC), whose best result was finishing sixth at a World Series event in Edmonton last year, says it’s a pity that Murray can’t compete.
‘It’s my heartfelt wish that Richard recovers quickly. I would guess his absence means it is up to the rest of us to give the local fans something to cheer about. I am certainly up to the challenge.’
In China the time gap between second-placed Rostyslav Pevtsov (Azerbaijan) and Sullwald was a mere 36 seconds. Mexico’s Rodrigo Gonzales won the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run in 1hr 49min 03sec with Sullwald finishing in 1:50:05.
What was exciting about the Tuks/HPC athlete’s performance is that his time for the 10km run was 31:37 and it was only Sullwald’s second competition since he has been side-lined with a knee injury for quite a few weeks.
Sullwald, also a former Youth Olympian, becomes quite excited when he talks about the way he ran. ‘I led the chase pack for about seven kilometres which was quite a thrill. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to dictate matters on the run. I get a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that I can “hurt” my rivals on the run. Perhaps I slightly overdid it because over the last two kilometres, when I really wanted to give it a bash, my legs went on ‘strike’. It was because my racing fitness is not yet quite what it should be.
‘That is why I am glad that Sunday is a sprint race. I’ve had some of my best results over the shorter distance. At this stage I know I am capable of running five kilometres flat-out.’
Lindsey Parry, head coach at Tuks/HPC, backs Sullwald to get a good result.
‘Wian is fast enough to race for a top finish but he should not get fixated on a result. His focus should be on what he needs to do to get into a good position when it matters. If he can do that he will be able to make a race of it.’
The inform athlete is definitely Spain’s, Mario Mola, who won the World Series races in Abu Dhabi and the Gold Coast. The fact that Mola only placed eighth in Cape Town last year does not count for anything because this time round it’s a sprint distance race (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run) which suits him better.
The legendary Brownlee brothers from Britain, Alistair and Jonathan, will also be competing. Alistair (current Olympic champion) executed a phenomenal run last year to take home the gold medal.
Jonathan (a former world champion) took the silver medal in 2014, so both brothers are familiar with the Cape Town course.
Some of the other top international athletes who will be in action are: Spain’s Fernando Alarza (ranked fourth on the ITU points list), France’s Vincent Luis (fifth) and Mexico’s Crisanto Grajales (eighth).
Picture of Sullwald on the bike courtesy of Reg Caldecott