Kuipers defers studies to push for Olympic dream

File Pic: Andie Kuipers

LEADING Zimbabwe triathlete, Andie Kuipers has deferred her studies at American University to try and push for qualification at the Paris Olympics coming later this year.

Kuipers is in her final semester at Wingate University in the United States of America studying psychology.

The country's lone Elite representative at next weekend's Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck said she doesn't want to live with regrets, hence a risk worth taking.

She is working on a two-pronged approach with her eyes firmly fixed on Paris and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck is scheduled for Troutbeck resort in Nyanga, Manicaland on February 17 with all eyes on Kuipers who will be making a return after four years and the Africa Junior Triathlon Cup pitting Zimbabwe's finest up and coming talent.

"I am in my final year of university so, literally I just have four more months left, so I would have finished now in May but I will finish in December," Kuipers told The Sports Hub.

"It was a little bit of a risk I think just because I'm on a scholarship there so, I had to talk to the coach and he was a bit skeptical, he didn't know if he wanted that but in the end I think it has worked out. I have always been someone that is either all in or not at all.

"I think when it comes to the Olympics I didn't want to finally get to the end of qualification. If I didn't qualify I didn't want to have any ifs so I just wanted to put in everything there. If I qualify that would be like my dream come true but if I don't at least I can say I did everything I could to get there and I'm going to get so much experience in these next two months. For me that was one of the main reasons I did that."

Her desire is to get the ball going at Troutbeck and get as many Olympic qualifying points as possible to brighten her chances of making it to Paris.

"I don't know in terms of percentage (chances of qualifying for the Olympics) what it is, but I basically need to get points at six more races," she said.

"It's kind of unknown right now, I do have a chance and if everything goes to plan I will go, but we don't know yet. So, I'm just going to be doing everything I can from now until the end of the qualification to get there."

She is excited to be home and looks forward to racing in front of her home support.

"It's been really nice to be home. I missed it a lot; it's been nice to have the comfort of my family as well. In terms of training, I'm really happy to be able to  train at altitude because I think that helps me a lot in terms of my development and then when I go down to sea level which just makes such a big difference," added Kuipers.

"I like that also in Harare everything is quite close, so logistically I can just go to the pool or go to the UZ (University of Zimbabwe) track and then have a good group to ride with, it's been good."

With talk of many international athletes absconding from the Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup because of cholera scare, Kuipers believes it is the nature of the Troutbeck hilly course that others choose to stay away and not the said epidemic.

"It's been four years, I'm always very nervous before Troutbeck. I think it's because it's a home race and you have like the pressures of everybody watching you but, I love it once I'm out on the course and everyone is cheering. It just gives you that extra boost that you need because that course is probably one of the hardest in the world which I think everyone's saying that's cholera that people don't want to come because of but I think it's because it's so hard," she said.

"You don't really get another course in the world that's that hard at this high altitude so, I'm lucky that I have the advantage of already living up here but no matter what I know it's going to be tough so, I'm just mentally prepared for that."

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