Three SA Olympians in Hamburg action | SASCOC - SASCOC

Three SA Olympians in Hamburg action


By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s triathletes raced to two seventh-place spots at the weekend’s ITU World Triathlon in Hamburg.

On a weekend’s racing that saw three of SA’s four Rio Olympians in action, one of those top-10 spots went to Richard Murray in the elite men’s category, and he then teamed up with Rio bronze medallist Henri Schoeman, Gill Sanders and Australia-based Anel Radford for seventh spot in the mixed-team relay.

Overall honours went to Mario Mola, the Spaniard clocking 54min 08sec for the sprint distance (750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run), 12sec clear of Aussie Jacob Birtwhistle.

Murray was 23sec slower in seventh and Schoeman 25sec further adrift in 16th.

Cape Town-based Murray was looking forward to racing in Hamburg, as he always does, but sickness got the better of him. ‘I picked up a bit of a throat infection a week before the race which wasn’t ideal, but I just love racing here.

‘So apart from not being 100%, everything else went to plan more or less. I had a reasonably good swim and was in the front group so I didn’t have to chase to hard on the bike, and it was a dangerous bike ride, one of the worst so far, almost a few crashes.

‘On the run we all started pretty much together so I just consolidated and got a top 10. I was fourth with a few 100 meters to run, but didn’t want to go all out and a few guys came past. I didn’t want to respond at all because all it would have done was get me into trouble healthwise.’

For the women, Sanders was 15th (1:00:31) in a race won by Bermuda’s Flora Duffy in 59:00 from Australia’s Ashleigh Gentles (59:31).

Said Sanders back in London: ‘I was happy to be in the main pack (with two girls off the front) and was in a perfect position to unleash my run.

‘My legs didn’t feel as good as I would have liked, and I only felt that I started moving well in the last kilometre. But it was still a well-executed race and a good position, so definitely heading in the right direction.

‘I’m still hunting that WTS podium to go with the World Cup one.’

Radford was back in Hamburg for her first WTS in two years and ended 44th in 1:03:36. ‘My preparation for the race went well and I was excited to race in one of the most iconic races on the calendar. I had my best WTS swim to date in the individual race, exiting the water in 12th position. Unfortunately my legs weren’t quite there on the bike and run and the rest of the race was a bit of a struggle.’

In the relay, a helter-skelter affair, which saw each athlete doing a mini triathlon of a 300m swim, 7km bike and 1600m run, alternating between women and men, it was Sanders followed by Schoeman, Radford and Murray.

Team SA clocked a combined time of 1hr 24min 05sec as Australia won in 1:22:28, four seconds ahead of the US and another three in front of the Netherlands.

Said Sanders: ‘I went first and surprised myself coming sixth out water, we were a front group of 17 on the bike and I ran well enough to hand over to Henri in sixth, less than 5sec behind leaders. Henri got us into third by the end of his leg. Anel went as hard as she could, but we slipped back to 12th and then Richard on anchor leg “beasted” himself to move up to seventh. Not too bad at all and I’m very happy with that.’

As for Radford: ‘I was very proud to be part of team South Africa for the mixed relays. It’s an exciting format of short and super hard racing. My teammates were amazing. I have a busy couple of weeks of racing ahead and I look forward to building on this weekend and racing to my potential.’

Picture of Murray courtesy of Specialized/Seb Schnieck and the team picture of Murray, Radford, Sanders and Schoeman courtesy of Joe Schoeman

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