The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
TWO Zimbabwean triathletes, Matthew Denslow as well as Laurelle Brown will make their debut at this year’s Bonaqua Troutbeck Africa Triathlon Union Sprint Triathlon African Cup to be held in Nyanga on Saturday.
South Africa based Denslow, winner of the gold medal in last year’s Bonaqua ATU Junior African junior men’s race while he was still at Hellenic is one of the 10 elite men who have registered for Saturday’s event. The 18-year- old Denslow was in action at last Saturday’s Maselspoort ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup held in Bloemfontein, South Africa where he finished 22nd in the men’s race in what was his debut race as an elite triathlete.
Denslow is excited about making the big jump in the elite at his favourite course where he contested as a junior for three years. His reason for not competing in the juniors is because he wants to progress and gain more exposure in the sport.
“I’m competing on my favorite course, in front of my home crowd against top athletes. This year I’ve chosen to race elite instead of U-19 in order to develop and gain more experience for the long run. I’m nervous but more importantly excited. I have trained hard and feel as ready as I can in these early stages of the season,’’ Denslow said.
Brown, who finished second while representing the country at last year’s African Games in Morocco is making her debut appearance as one of the three elite women at Troutbeck.
With registration still open, a total of 13 athletes had registered to take part in what has been described as a challenging race. Out of the 13, South Africa have the highest number of triathletes with four. The rest of the triathletes are from Brazil, Mauritius, Syria, Switzerland, Russia, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Last year, the Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup was dominated by Germans. Justus Nieschlag romped to victory in the men’s section while his fellow citizen, Nina Eim was the winner of the women’s elite ahead of South African Amber Schlebusch and Carolyn Hayes of Ireland.
Zimbabwean Gideon Benade, competing for the second time in the elite was the last man to cross the finish line for those who completed the race. South African Nicholas Quenet did not finish the race when he was withdrawn while his compatriot Matthew Greer did not even start. Greer has entered the race this year.
Triathletes will swim 750m, cycle three laps of 6.6 kilometres and then finish off with two rounds of 2.5km. A total prize money of US$3 000 is on offer for the elite athletes with the money split between the men and women. Winners will get $750, runners up $450 while those in third place will pocket $300.
Foreign athletes arrive in the country on Thursday before they are transported from Harare by road to Nyanga on the same day.