BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Late entrant Ayan Beisenbayev from Kazakhstan is looking to bag a second Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup elite men’s title in the 14th edition of the competition which is scheduled for Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga today.
The Kazakh, who is ranked 67th in the world, joined the list of international athletes are taking part at this year’s event which was moved from February to September as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Beisenbayev won the competition in 2016 and is now favourite to win a second gong in a nine-man field that includes Oliver Gorges from Luxemburg, Badr Siwane (Morocco), Mathew Nordengen-Corris South Africa and Namibian Divan Duplooy, among others.
Hosts Zimbabwe have no representative in the men’s elite race this year.
“I am feeling good and strong. I was here five years ago and I won, so I am hoping to win again this time around,” Beisenbayev told journalists ahead of the race day.
In the elite women’s race, veteran Zimbabwean triathlete Greer Wynn will square off with two South Africans, 19-year-old Bridget Theunissen and Hannah Newman (21).
Theunissen was part of the event in 2018 and raced in the junior women category, while Newman is just coming from the World Championships in Canada and looks to carry on the momentum.
Zimbabwe has two athletes in the junior women category, Jessica Fuller and Makanaka Mawere, who won bronze at the Africa championships in Egypt in June.
However, Mawere, who finished seventh at the Troutbeck event last year, is just recovering from a shoulder injury she suffered soon after the Africa Championships.
“I just came up from injury, so it’s gonna be too hard to compete, but I just want to see where I am and improve from there. I got it after coming from the Africa Championships,” she said
“ It was quite bad, I couldn’t even swim, but I’m glad I’m back. Pressure is always there trying to push yourself just to keep on improving. That’s my main pressure that I can say.”
The defending champion from South Africa, Kira Ribbink, is favourite to win the junior women’s race.
There are also three athletes representing the country in the junior men’s race, namely George Ascott, David Knox and Marcel Paulser.
This year marks the fifth anniversary for Coca-Cola through their Bonaqua Still Water brand as the official sponsor of the event.
The Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU is sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union and is a world ranking points event for elite athletes.
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