Rousseau carries Zim hopes

NYANGA - An illustrious cast of elite athletes get the Schweppes Water Troutbeck ATU African Cup underway today in the resort town of Nyanga with Zimbabwe’s hopes squarely laid on the slender shoulders of Linda Rousseau.

Rousseau placed fourth at the 2012 Troutbeck ATU Triathlon Africa Cup and is hoping to rise to expectations in a field were she is the only elite triathlete representing Zimbabwe.

In the starting line, she will be amongst eminent company in the form of South Africa’s Cindy Swulst, ranked 116th on the ITU points list.

Swulst finished fifth at the 2015 Buffalo City ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup and is  favourite to claim the elite women African Cup title.

Mauritius’ Fabien St Louis, who is ranked 199 on the ITU points list, is also another title contender and will be hoping to carry on the form that saw her claim ninth at the 2015 Hurghada ATU Triathlon Africa Cup in Egypt.

In the elite men category where Zimbabwe is without representation, Wian Sullwald of South Africa will wear the number one bib as he comes into the event as the highest ranked elite men.

The South African is 42 on the ITU points list and 50th on the WTS ranking.

His toughest opposition is expected to come from Wikus Weber ranked 133 on the ITU points list.

“Obviously being ranked first in a race you are expected to end first. So Ja (sic) I like to deal with the pressure and to do the best I can,” 21-year-old Sullwald said yesterday.

“This is my first race of the season. I have had lot of injuries and health issues but my training has been going better than expected. Now I am feeling good.

“Basically this race is up and down the entire way so definitely really honest and hard course. Makes it harder than the course back home.”

The international event runs concurrently with the Zimbabwe Triathlon National Championships as well as the Troutbeck Mile Open Water Swim.

The inaugural Troutbeck Mile Open Water Swim event was held in 2012 with Kirsty Coventry setting 00:20:50 over 1 500m which was later broken by Sarah Hawgood’s 00:20:49 swim in 2014.

Nicholas Burnett currently holds the record in the men’s 1 500m for his 00:20:39 swim in 2012.

Kerryn Grenfell is the ladies 750m record holder with 00:11:00 while Dylan Steyl 00:10:28 in the men’s 750m will be the time to beat in the men’s 750m swim.

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