THE Troutbeck ATU African Triathlon Championship received a major boost following a marked increase in the number of participating elite athletes from across the continent ahead of the prestigious continental showpiece in the Nyanga resort town on Saturday.
Triathlon Zimbabwe president Rick Fulton said as of yesterday, 16 male and 12 female elite athletes had confirmed their participation in what is expected to be the best elite field ever to race at Troutbeck.
“The men’s elite field for the Troutbeck ATU African Triathlon Championship has reached 16 athletes while the women’s is now at 12 athletes.
“This is the best elite field to race ever at Troutbeck and all African. Countries so far represented include Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Mauritius, South Africa and Zimbabwe.”
Other categories that will be contested at the championships include the elite Under-23 men and women, adult age groups from 20 to 65 years, both over the standard distance, and the Junior Under-17 and Under-19 age groups.
Fulton said there were expecting an intriguing duel in the men’s elite race between South African Richard Murray and his compatriot Henri Schoeman.
“The men’s field includes South Africa’s Richard Murray who is the number four in the world and a 2012 Olympian. The favourite on paper and performance will be Henri Schoeman who is the current African champion. He is also the 2012 and 2013 Troutbeck champion and will try and force the lead out of the swim which is his strongest discipline” he said.
The women’s field, according to Fulton, will be wide open as defending African champion Gillian Saunders and Kate Roberts, both from South Africa, and Mauritius’ Fabianne St Louis all expect to have an equal chance of emerging victorious. Fulton said they were expecting more participants in the junior age group categories and the Troutbeck Mile Open water swim would run concurrently with the triathlon event.
Meanwhile, Africa Triathlon Union executive board members are also expected in the country for the Troutbeck ATU African Triathlon Championship and will hold their excecutive meeting on the sidelines of the event.