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Can Felgate restore Zim pride?

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Zimbabwe’s leading male triathlete Christopher Felgate will attempt to restore the country’s lost pride at the ongoing Olympic Games in London when he lines up alongside 56 other top triathletes from across the globe in the men’s triathlon race today.

The gruelling multiple-stage competition which consists of a 1 500m swim, a 43km bike ride and a 10km run will get underway at 1230hours in the largest of London’s Royal Parks, Hyde Park.

Felgate, who retires from triathlon after the Olympics, finished a disappointing 42nd from 55 competitors in Beijing four years ago and will hope to draw from the experience he gained at the last edition of the games.

He, together with South African Richard Murray, are the only triathletes from Africa who managed to qualify for the prestigious race.

The 30-year-old Zimbabwean competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympics courtesy of IOC Solidarity Funding and a scholarship supplied by the International Triathlon Union but this time around managed to meet the qualification criteria.

While Felgate’s chances of securing a podium finish are next to none, he will be hoping to put on a brave show.

His confidence will be boosted by the fact that there appears to be a few heavy favourites in the men’s race with the British brothers pair of Alistair Brownlee and Jonathan Brownlee headlining the show in their own country.

However, if there is anything the Olympics has proven in the sport of triathlon, it’s to expect the unexpected.

According to reports from London, the day starts in the Serpentine Lake, where the triathletes will dive in from a pontoon for a 1,5km loop.

After the swim, the men will transition on Serpentine Road to start a seven-lap 43km bike course, which passes in front of Buckingham Palace and the Queen Victoria Memorial.

While both bike and run course is essentially flat, athletes will be challenged by narrow turns and rain could play an important role, as slick roads led to several crashes around Hyde Park corner near Buckingham Palace in the women’s race on Saturday.

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