ZIMBABWE triathlon ace, Andie Kuipers, capped her 2023 season with a sixth-place finish at the Africa Triathlon Cup in Kilifi, Kenya, a much improved show from her previous performance in the same race last year.
The USA-based triathlete was on number eight 12 months ago but this time she moved two places in the positive and was 23 seconds quicker than she was last season as the fruits of hard yards put in throughout the season bore rewards.
She raced in three continents with three different time zones in three weeks displaying a real show of determination and endurance by the 21-year-old.
Kuipers finished her race in a time of 01:12:13 against last season’s 01:12:36 buoyed by her ability to keep up with the leading pack during the 750m swim. However, Austria maintained their hegemony in the race claiming gold again through Lisa Perterer (01:05:53) and silver from last year’s gold medallist Tanja Stroschneider (01:07:09). Romania’s Antoanella Manac took bronze in a time of 01:09:47 while Julie Staub, the 37-year-old Mauritian, did not finish the race after some magnificent effort in the swim and 19.5km bike.
Kuipers is working tirelessly towards her Olympic qualification journey. The triathlets said she was satisfied with her performance in her final race of the year.
“Yes, I am happy with how it went. I really gave it everything I had, and I could feel the long season in my legs on that run. If I compare my race to when I raced here (Kenya) last season, last time I was out of the water in third pack and ran nearly 23 minutes for 5km. This year I was out of the water in the front pack, 20 seconds behind Olympian Lisa Perterer from Austria and ran 20 mins in the heat, which is not superfast but will take the three-minute improvement in the hot conditions,” Kuipers told NewsDay Sport.
“I could feel that I was the strongest in my bike pack, even though I couldn’t shift gears because my bike had a mechanical issue. I got on the run and immediately knew it was going to be hard to fight for a podium spot. My legs defiantly felt the travel and race from last weekend but I’m extremely proud with how I fought to the end and am satisfied to now take some time to relax and reset for next season.”
She confirmed her availability for next year’s Triathlon Zimbabwe flagship race, the Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck.
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“I haven’t got my final plans in place yet as I need to know my university schedule first, but one thing is for sure that I will be racing in our home race at Troutbeck as well as Africa Games, but the other races are still to be decided for the moment,” added Kuipers.