Kuipers back for Troutbeck Africa Cup

The USA-based athlete has had an extended stay in the country after returning home for the festive holidays.

TRIATHLON Zimbabwe (TZ) are bubbling with excitement following the confirmation by leading triathlete Andie Kuipers that she will be lining up for this year's Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck Elite Women competition this month as she bids to kick-start the year on a high.

The USA-based athlete has had an extended stay in the country after returning home for the festive holidays.

She shared her excitement to race in the hilly Eastern Highlands terrain.

Troutbeck Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup, which is Africa's longest running continental competition reaches a 16-year milestone with this event which is slated for the end of this month at Troutbeck.

“I am really excited to be able to race on home turf. It will be really special to finally race in front of my federation, family and friends who are also a huge part of my journey,” Kuipers told NewsDay Sport.

“I have missed racing in Zimbabwe and conditions here are pretty brutal compared to the rest of world. I will be racing at over 2 000m above sea level and up and down the Nyanga mountains, but that’s what I love... the gritty hard racing conditions.”

Kuipers, who had a busy schedule last year, racing on three different continents inside three weeks, is hopeful to gatecrash into the Paris Olympics scheduled for later this year.

“This race will be very important in terms of getting points towards Olympic qualification, but also being my first race of the season will be good to test my early season fitness,” she added.

“This year I have until May 21st to qualify for the games and so I will be making the most of that time and race as much as my body is able to. But each race needs to be at a high level so the balance will crucial."

The country's leading elite triathlete is also set to compete at the Africa Games set for Accra, Ghana in April.

“My first races will be Troutbeck African Cup, the Africa Games in Ghana, Masselspoort African Cup in South Africa and then following this we will be watching the calendar and racing where it will fit me best, but I intend on doing six races before May 21st.”

TZ head coach, Pam Fulton said Kuipers' participation will serve as an inspiration to local up and coming triathletes.

“Oh wow, to once again have an elite athlete racing at our very own Troutbeck race is so special for the youth and juniors,” Fulton said.

“Hopefully her presence will inspire our juniors to dream big and set big goals for themselves.”

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