Former African champion Erhard Wolfaardt from South Africa shrugged off a late challenge of local favourite Christopher Felgate to win the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Troutbeck African Cup in Nyanga over the weekend.
According to reports from Nyanga, Wolfaardt broke away in the 1 500-metre swimming section and the 39km cycle section before resisting a strong challenge from Felgate in the 10km run to cross the finishing line in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 59 seconds.
South Africa-based Felgate, who represented Zimbabwe at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in China, mounted a strong challenge towards the end but eventually finished second in 2 hours 6 minutes and 51 seconds.
Brazilian Mauro Conceciao came third in 2 hours 7 minutes and 51 seconds to complete the top three in the Elite race which also served as an Olympic qualification points race.
Australian Jeremy Drake came third while other Zimbabweans Joseph Anderson and Andrew Taylor finished ninth and 10th respectively, out of 13 participants while Moroccan Medhi Essadiq failed to finish the race.
However, it’s still too early for the triathletes to seal qualification to the London 2012 Olympics as they still have more races ahead starting next week in Pretoria and other races in Kenya and Mauritius next year.
Organiser for the Troutbeck Cup event Rick Fulton said he was impressed by the high level of competition in the Elite race which was very closely contested.
Fulton added that the foreign triathletes had been impressed by the hospitality at Troutbeck which hosted triathletes from countries like the United States, Croatia, Poland, Australia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, and the United Kingdom.
The race also witnessed the return of former Under-23 World Champion Rory Mackie who came second in the age group race behind Travis Brown.
Mackie was making a return from a long injury layoff after he was attacked by an elephant ahead of the Athens Olympics in 2004.