HARARE – Leading South African elite female triathlete Cindy Schwulst is gunning for a gold medal in today’s Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Triathlon African Cup building on her experience of competing on this course.
Today’s race in the female elite will be her fifth uninterrupted year of dedicated participation here and only last year she finished second just a place off the top position which makes one of the top contenders for this relatively small women elite field.
Mauritus’ Fabiene St Louis, who claimed gold at last year’s race, has since called time on her career, walking out on a high by winning gold at Troutbeck after almost a decade of attempts since she started as a junior.
Six athletes have registered to compete in this year’s women elite, four of them Schwulst’s country mates while two coming all the way from Japan, Aoi Kuramoto and Chika Sato.
The other South African triathletes comprise Jodie Berry, Vicky Van De Merwe and Maude Elaine Le Roux.
“I finished second last year and I’m hoping to do well again in this race. It’s my fifth consecutive year race here,” a confident Schwulst said at a pre-race media briefing here yesterday.
“I really enjoy the course, it’s very challenging but it’s a stunning venue and absolutely beautiful here and I’m looking forward to it.
“I have been training hard, we had the SA championships two weeks ago where I had a good race . . . there’s also a couple of strong athletes here so I will just do my best and hope to get a good result.”
This year’s event coincides with Triathlon Zimbabwe’s 10th anniversary of hosting the Troutbeck event as an African Cup.
The locals, in the absence of elite representatives will be holding their National Championships for the U13/U15 as well as the U17/U19.
Meanwhile, German-born Turkish athlete Jonas Schomburg heralds the eight man male elite list. He is currently classified as ITU for this race as he is still in the process of renouncing his German allegiance which he has represented over the years for his country of birth, Turkey.
Other men elites include South Africa’s Dylan Norte and Jacobus Kruger while Namibia has Jean-Paul Burger widely described by the authorities here as the dark horse. Japan is represented by Ren Sato and Takumi Higo while German’s Linus Stimmel completes the list.
Burger said: “It’s quite a small field that’s racing here so I definitely would like to get on the podium.”