BY DANIEL NHAKANISO IN NYANGA
ZIMBABWE’S elite triathletes Matthew Denslow and Laurelle Brown are relishing the opportunity to test themselves against other triathletes from around the world when they line-up in the 2020 edition of the Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup at Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga today.
Denslow will be making a return to Troutbeck for the first time since winning a gold medal in the junior men’s race of the inaugural Bonaqua ATU Junior African Cup which ran
concurrently with the 2019 Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup last year.
The Troutbeck meet will be 20 year-old Denslow’s only second race as an elite triathlete after his debut at the 2020 Maselspoort ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup in Bloemfontein, South Africa, early this month, finishing 22nd out of 27 competitors.
Denslow told reporters during yesterday’s pre-race Press conference that he was enjoying the experience of competing against other elite triathletes and looking forward to today’s race.
“It’s still quite early in the season, but I’ve been preparing as much as I can in training in South Africa and I’m looking forward to it,” Denslow said.
“Competing in the elite is definitely a new ball game for sure but I love it and I’m enjoying it. The first race I did in Bloemfontein was great fun. I raced most of the guys here and it was great fun and I’m looking forward to this race.”
The young Zimbabwean, who is ranked fourth on the International Triathlon Union (ITU)’s junior continental rankings, is one of the 10 triathletes who are set to battle it out for top honours in the elite men’s race.
Neighbours South Africa have the highest number of participants, with the quartet of Cameron MacNair, Jamie Riddle, Matthew Gree and Ben De La Porte all aiming to maintain their countrys dominance of the race.
The other participants in the men’s elite race are Timothee Hugnin from Mauritius, Russian Dmitry Polyanskiy, Danilo Pimentel from Brazil, Syria’s Mohamad Alsabbagh and Switzerland’s Andrea Salvisberg.
Zimbabweans will also be eagerly monitoring the women’s elite race, where 25-year-old home favourite Brown, who is also a former African Junior Champion will be making her elite debut at Troutbeck.
Brown last competed in 2013, before she took a break to pursue her studies in the United Kingdom.
She returned to competition last year and went on to win a silver medal at the African Games in Morocco and is looking forward to the opportunity to competing against international triathletes.
“I’ve just come off the back of the African Games so I haven’t raced any international athletes outside Africa heading into tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see how I fare,” Brown said.
Following the withdrawal of Shanae Williams from South Africa, only three athletes will feature in the elite women’s race with Brown battling it out against Russia’s Anastasia Abrosimova and Tunisian Ons Lajili.
Besides the men and women’s elite races, a number of activities are lined up for this year’s Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Triathlon African Cup.
These include the ATU Junior Triathlon African Cup, the Zimbabwe National Triathlon championships, Off-Road triathlon, Bonaqua Corporate Team Challenge Super-sprint distance, Troutbeck Trikidz, for six to eight-year-olds, and Aquathlon (run-swim-run), among other competitions.