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SA trio aim for glory at World Championships in Spain
- Updated: June 3, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
Saturday’s World Duathlon Championships in Aviles, Spain feature comebacks for three top South African athletes.
Olympic triathlon medal hopeful Richard Murray, former duathlon world champs top five finisher Andrea Steyn and 2014 African Youth Games champion Madelaine le Roux are all on comebacks of one kind or another.
Murray’s looking to bounce back after breaking his collarbone at the Gold Coast leg of the World Triathlon Series earlier this year. He’ll race over distances of 10km (run), 40km (cycle) and 5km run.
He told Road to Rio 2016 from Spain: ‘The last couple of weeks I’ve been back in the swimming pool and have done a maximum of 15 kilometres or so but it was only last week that I did proper over-arm stuff.
‘So it’s my first event back in a while and only my third race of the season but I’m looking forward to it.’
Mind you, Murray is no stranger to the world of duathlon and it was in this code that he first started making a name for himself. ‘I’ve got two junior world titles (2007 and 2008) so it would be nice to get a senior one! My running form is good, as I had a good pre-season so I guess it’s just about staying positive and getting stronger and stronger.’
As for Steyn, who is also a former African triathlon champion, she’s just excited to be back racing after being dogged by injuries till a few years back.
‘I never thought I would race another world’s,’ she tells Road to Rio 2016. I started my own physiotherapy practice two years ago so working long hours and training twice a day is tough…
‘But being injury-free for the last two years is helping (I guess it helps if you train less!) Running has been going well.
‘I was selected for the SA team to go take part at this year’s African Cross Country Champs in Cameroon. That went really well [she finished 16th overall] so I decided to try and do another Elite Race!’
‘I’m really excited to race on Saturday although I’m not sure what to expect as it’s been four years since my last world Champs!’
She won’t be the only Steyn in action though as husband Wilhelm is racing in the age-group categories.
Moving on and Le Roux, pictured right, will be continuing her own comeback after also breaking her collarbone, in Chicago last year and having been sick for the last two weeks.
Racing in the junior women’s division she’ll do half the elite men and women’s distance. ‘According to the start list I’m No1 and that’s possible because maybe I have the most ITU points.
‘But I’m honestly not too sure what to expect as it’s the first time I’m doing an international duathlon so I’m kind of scared.
‘As my dad says “don’t think of the elephants…” I think I’ve done enough preparation although I was out of action for two weeks with illness. But I’ll trust in the Lord and I’ll leave my best out on the course… the result’s in his hands.’
Picture of the finish area for Saturday’s championships, courtesy of Andrea Steyn