Zimbabwe will host an array of foreign tri-athletes who are expected to start arriving in the country today for the 2010 Troutbeck International Triathlon Union (ITU)African Triathlon Cup.
The event takes place in Nyanga on Saturday.
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, the president of the Zimbabwe Triathlon Association Rick Fulton said: “In terms of logistics, everything is now in place for the event and we expect the participating athletes to start arriving in the country tomorrow (today) ahead of the pre-race briefing on Friday (tomorrow).
“We expect close to 20 elite tri-athletes but at the moment 17 have so far confirmed participation. We have received 70 applicants on the local scene.”
Tri-athletes from South Africa, the United States, Croatia, Poland, Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt and the United Kingdom will compete alongside local athletes in the scenic Eastern Highlands.
The event, which is an Olympic qualification points race, will be graced by a technical delegate from the African Triathlon Union Bertus le Roux and Zimbabwe Olympic Committee chief executive Robert Mutsauki.
Fulton said the Troutbeck African Triathlon Cup was part of a series of races which would see the tri-athletes moving to Pretoria in South Africa next week before heading for Mauritius and Kenya.
2012 London Olympics hopeful Chris Felgate (27), who is based in South Africa, will carry Zimbabwe’s hopes in the elite race alongside fellow countrymen Joseph Anderson and Andrew Tanner.
In the women’s category, American Florence Chretien will make a comeback to Troutbeck after competing here in 2007 while France-based Mauritian Fabienne Saintt Louis is also a top contender in the women’s elite race.
Australia-based Ashley Finaughty and locally-based Andre Brown, who took part in the Singapore Youth Olympics, will not compete in Nyanga because of academic commitments.
The two rising stars remain Zimbabwe’s best hope for a women’s berth at the London Olympics in 2012.
Triathlon is a multi-sport endurance event comprising of swimming, cycling and running.
Elite Men’s Race: Michal Achczynsi (Poland), Joseph Anderson, Chris Felgate, Andrew Tanner (all Zimbabwe), Ahmed Zaher, Omar Nour (both Egypt), Erhard Wolfaardt, Michael Davidson, Bjorn Ludick (all South Africa), Cyrus Severance (USA), Majita Lukina (Croatia), Lawrence Fanous (Jordan), Medhi Essadiq (Morocco), Jeremy Drake (Australia), Mauro Cavanha (Brazil)
Elite Women’s Race: Florence Chretien (USA), Fabienne St Louis (Mauritius)