Williams returns to Troutbeck

HARARE - South African elite triathlete Shanae Williams has made herself available for some valuable Olympics qualification points as she is billed to compete in this weekend’s Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup in Nyanga.

The 21-year-old set the new course time in the Troutbeck Mile Open Water 1 500m Swim (TMOWS) after exiting the waters first in 20:36 heading for the bike transition.

The inaugural TMOWS in 2012 was set by ex-swimming sensation now Zimbabwe Sports minister Kirsty Coventry with a time of 20:50 in the ladies event and the late Nicholas Burnett, another Zimbabwean in the men’s category with a time of 20:39.

There was, however, disappointment for Williams after she pulled out of the race with a tyre puncture resulting in her not finishing the race.

But for her consolation, compatriot Cindy Schwulst and Jayme-Sue Vermaas ensured that South Africa got gold and silver medals.

Williams had to endure a terrible 2018 season characterised with a couple of instances where she failed to finish races for various reasons. These included August Malmo ETU Sprint Triathlon European Cup in Sweden, the ITU Triathlon Grand Final Gold Coast event in Australia in September and the Mariental ATU Traithlon African Cup in Namibia in November.

She is one of the remnants returning to the Troutbeck course in the women elite together with fellow South African Jodie Berry, who finished fourth in 2017.

In the men’s elite division, at least six athletes, who participated in last year’s competition, are scheduled to return this weekend.

These are gold medallist Jonas Breinlinger of Germany, South Africa’s trio of Mathew Greer (6), Pieterjan Van de Merwe (7) and Travis Mcgrath and Zimbabwe’s own Gideon Benade who will be making his second appearance since his debut last year.

“From a local perspective, Benade will be racing in the elite men’s field; last year was his launch for the elite triathlon men’s field so he’s going to be racing at Troutbeck which obviously all eyes will be on him for an improved performance,” event director Rick Fulton said.  

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