Triathlon Zimbabwe will host the 2010 African Triathlon Cup at Africa Sun’s Troutbeck Inn in Nyanga on November 20.
Speaking to NewsDay Thursday, Shaun Lawler, who is in the event management team, said preparations for the event, which is set to attract foreign participants, are on course.
“All is going well, we have done two preliminary visits to the venues and we are satisfied with the progress,” said Lawler.
“We are expecting more than 24 elites from as far as the US, Portugal, Spain, Mauritius, South Africa and other countries but they can only confirm participation two weeks before the tournament starts,” he added.
Elites are professional triathlon athletes. Triathlon is a multi-sport endurance event combining swimming, cycling and running in immediate succession over various distances.
“A lot of these elites will be preparing for the Pretoria-Tshwane International Triathlon Union (ITU) Triathlon Africa Cup a few days later so they will use the Nyanga tournament as preparations.
“They also want to improve their world and ITU ranking points so that they will qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games”.
Lawler however said they have not secured a title sponsor although “a couple of prospective companies have shown interest to sponsor the tournament.”
Duathlon, Half-Tri and Quarter-Tri will also be included in the event. This is not the first time Zimbabwe has hosted a major triathlon event.
Zimbabwe successfully hosted the 1995, 1999 and 2006 editions of the African Championships at Troutbeck. Mark Marabini was the first to represent Zimbabwe at the inaugural Olympic triathlon event in 2000 but he has since retired from the sport.
Ashleigh Finaughty, another Zimbabwean who is currently studying in Australia, has a fine track record of junior level results regionally, culminating in a 41st position finish at the 2008 World Junior Championships.
Finaughty remains Zimbabwe’s best hope for women in the sport at the 2012 London Olympics Games.
Andrea Brown was included in the African Team for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games after her impressive qualification ranking at the Pretoria JUT African Cup.
Charlotte Wetzlar, Brown and Boyd Littleford all competed at the 2009 Junior World Championships in Australia’s Gold Coast, with the latter two athletes attending an ITU World Junior and Under -23 camp prior to the Championships.
Rory Mackie, the Under-23 World Duathlon Champion in 2002, qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics, but unfortunately was gored by an elephant and could not compete at the games.