The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
DESPITE being Zimbabwe’s only representative in the elite section at the Bonaqua Troutbeck Africa Triathlon Union Sprint Triathlon African Cup, Gideon Benade is ready to make an impression when this year’s event takes place in Nyanga on Saturday.
Benade made his senior debut last year and went on to finish 12th out of the 14 triathletes who finished the race. Veteran Zimbabwean triathlete Rory Mackie finished last in 2018 and unlikely to take part this year.
Benade, who turns 21 on Tuesday is based in Marondera and has expressed his desire to perform at his best notwithstanding the fact that his training was affected by sickness at the end of last year which saw him being sidelined for two months.
“I am aiming to finish having left it all on the course. At the end of last year I got really sick and went off for two months therefore I did not have the best training I needed for this race,’’ Benade said.
He has been having his training sessions at Peterhouse Boys where he is working part time. He feels that the fine tuning he has had is adequate enough for him to take up the challenge at Troutbeck come Saturday. The youngster is working towards qualification for the 2024 Olympics.
Entries for this year’s Bonaqua Troutbeck Africa Triathlon Union Sprint Triathlon African Cup close tomorrow, with the triathletes expected to arrive in Nyanga on Thursday. So far 22 elite men and seven cream of the crop women have registered for this year, which reflects an increase from 2018. Rick Fulton, the Triathlon Zimbabwe attributed the rise in numbers for this year to having event a week after the Triathlon World Cup that was held in Cape Town, South Africa yesterday and today.
The triathletes will swim over 750 metres, do three laps of 6.6 kilometres on bicycles and then run for 5km.
Last year, German Jonas Breinlinger won the men’s elite section ahead of Australian Nicholas Free and Namibian Jean-Paul Burger. Cindy Schwulst of South Africa won the women’s race, with her compatriot Jayme-Sue Vermaas second while Yan Yin Hilda Choi from Hong Kong finished third.
While this is the third time that Bonaqua are the title sponsors, this is the sixth year that Coca-Cola have been involved with the Troutbeck event.