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Gold and silver for SA duo at world championships
- Updated: June 5, 2016
By Mark Etheridge
South Africa has a new sporting world champion and a runner-up after Saturday’s duathlon world championships in Aviles, Spain.
Rio Olympics bound triathlete Richard Murray added a first senior world title to go with two junior world titles while Andrea Steyn sealed silver in her first world championships in four years.
Remarkable was the fact that Murray was lining up for his first race eight weeks to the day after breaking his collarbone in Australia. In the Cape Town athlete, South Africa have a diamond that dazzles with a capital D.
Murray, watched by his parents, as they did at his junior titles in 2007 and 2008, covered the 10km run, 40km cycle and 5km run in 1hr 42min 18sec to beat local athlete, and last year’s winner, Emilio Martin by 17 seconds.
As for Steyn, her last world champs was in France four years ago, since when she’s been kept busy by the opening of her own physiotherapy practice, meaning she battles to fit in two sessions of training in daily… something which may work in her favour as she’s been relatively injury-free since then.
The Pretoria flyer clocked 1:56:52 as Britain’s birthday girl Emma Pallant narrowly beat her by seven seconds with Spain’s Margarita Garcia ending third after leading for the entire bike leg.
‘Wow it was such an awesome race,’ Steyn told Road to Rio 2016. ‘The first 10 km was fast but I felt comfortable. We managed to form a pack of only five athletes. We worked well together on the bike and shared the work.
‘We opened the gap to the chasing group and it only got bigger as far as the race went. I felt good on the bike and was positive going into the last run. I was first out of transition and soon it was only me, Emma (last year’s winner) and the Spanish girl, Margarita
‘I ran my heart out but on the second lap Emma made a bit of a gap. I managed to drop the Spanish girl and came home in second place. The crowds was awesome and it was probably one of my best races ever. Was great to have my husband (Wilhelm) on the course shouting and seeing him every lap.’
The junior races didn’t see as much SA success with Matthew Greer’s 12th spot in the men’s race and Madelaine le Roux’s 10th in the women, the best results.
Greer was timed at 54:22 as Britain’s Alex Yee won in 51:40.
Le Roux, reigning African Youth Games champion, had battled sickness in the two weeks building up to the race, but clocked 1:05:35 as Swiss athlete Delia Sclabas won in 58:55. Her distance was over 5km, 20km and 2.5km.
’The race did not go at all as planned…I just fell off the wagon on the first run and was struggling with some asthma problems,’ Le Roux, pictured right, told Road to Rio 2016.
‘Then on the cycle I was riding very hard and caught two other girls who unfortunately were not strong enough to help me at all as they just sat on my tail the entire time
‘The second run was very painful as my whole left leg started cramping and then contracted and would just not let go – this made me fall down and one of the medical staff members helped me a bit to just rub it out so I at least could finish.
‘However I am very disappointed as this was not what I had in mind for this race…but I guess life goes on and I just have to forget about this race and move forward (see it as another learning curve).’