BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
A TOTAL of 31 elite and junior athletes representing nine countries, eight of them from Africa, have registered to take part in the rescheduled 14th edition of Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck set for Nyanga next week.
The country’s flagship international triathlon event, which is usually staged in February, had to be postponed due to the COVID-19-induced lockdown.
As expected, the number of athletes participating at the event has been affected, especially the contingent from Europe who usually dominated the field in years gone by.
“On the international front, we are happy to announce that we have got a total of 31 elite and junior elite athletes at the event representing nine countries. The countries are Kenya, Luxembourg, Namibia, Niger, Morocco, South Africa, Senegal, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” event director Rick Fulton told journalists in Harare yesterday.
“We have a very strong African element which is a first for this year and this is a product of the level of similar events taking place around Africa which are designed to benefit African elite athletes. It is very good to be able to see a strong African contingent come here as well as some of the other internationals
“I think the problem with a low ratio of Northern hemisphere European athletes not participating this year is a product of firstly the Tokyo Olympics and secondly a lot of these countries’ athletes would have to go into mandatory quarantine process and that made their travel choices difficult.
“We have seen a slight dip in our normal European participation but the important thing this year is the event is progressing and we do have a good local and international feel,” Fulton said.
Representatives from key sponsors namely Toyota Zimbabwe, Coca-Cola, Bon Marche’, African Sun and Cimas also made presentations at the Press conference.
The Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck is a significant platform for local and international triathletes to earn international ranking points.
It consists of swimming, cycling and running.
Fulton revealed that some of the top junior athletes who did well at last year’s event such as Matt Denslow, Andy Kuipers and Mikayla Colegrove would not attend this year’s event because of university commitments.
The hope is that many of the unheralded young athletes who did well at the 2021 Africa Championships in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in June will rise to the occasion.
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