The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
PREPARATIONS for this year’s edition of the Bonaqua African Triathlon Cup Troutbeck that is set for 25 September at Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga are well underway with the event officially launched today (Tuesday) in Harare.
An international field consisting of elite men and elite women will compete in the event, making this years’ edition, bigger and memorable. So far, nine men and three women have entered the race. Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Niger, Namibia, Luxembourg and Zimbabwe are the countries whose tri-athletes have entered the elite races.
The ATU Junior Triathlon Cup will also be staged at the same venue, for the third time. It will see Zimbabwe hosting junior elite athletes from Egypt, Tunisia, Mauritius, Namibia and South Africa. Supporting events of the day include an African Cross-Triathlon (Off-Road) Championship, Schweppes Corporate Triathlon Challenge, Zimbabwe Triathlon Championships over a number of events, Tri-Kidz and tri-sports triathlon, Aquathlon (run-swim-run) and an Open Water Swim, all under the banner of the Bonaqua Troutbeck Multisport Festival.
It is the fifth year for Bonaqua still water as the official title sponsor, although Coca-Cola has previously supported the event under Schweppes Water. Bonaqua Water is bottled by Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited. Other partners who are supporting the tournament include Bon Marche, Cimas, Rooney’s and Toyota Zimbabwe.
“As the Coca-Cola system which includes our bottling partner Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited, we are delighted to be able to support local sports development through sponsorships like the Triathlon during these challenging times. The Bonaqua African Triathlon Cup Troutbeck is growing with each year, and attracting global athletes,” said Faith Nehanda, Coca-Cola Zimbabwe frontline marketing portfolio Activation Manager.
Event organiser, Rick Fulton said the Bonaqua African Triathlon Cup has contributed to the positive development of sport as well as tourism in Zimbabwe.
“The Bonaqua African Triathlon Cup Troutbeck which is sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union (ITU) is contributing positively towards the development of sports and tourism in Zimbabwe by attracting regional, continental and global athletes,” said Fulton.
Ropafadzo Gwanetsa, Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited corporate affairs manager said they appreciate the professionalism exhibited by Triathlon Zimbabwe which has resulted in the successful hosting of the event every year.
Elite tri-athletes have an opportunity to pick up some World Ranking points at the Bonaqua African Triathlon Cup. It means that the points scored by elite athletes will ultimately become Olympic Ranking Qualification points for Paris 2024.
Troutbeck is well known as one of the world’s best resorts for sport and tourism due to the availability of safe, clean, disease and animal free water, good roads within a perfect terrain as well as a friendly climatic environment. The course is also one of the hardest.
Last year, Andrea Salvisberg of Switzerland won the elite men’s race ahead of Russian Dmitry Polyansky while Jammie Riddle of South Africa was third.
Laurelle Brown of Zimbabwe secured second place in the women’s elite which was won by Russian Olympian Anastasia Abrosimova and Ons Lajili of Tunisia finished third. The women elite was a small field made up of just three competitors, which looks likely to be the scenario again this year.
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