By Mark Etheridge
Henri Schoeman and Gillian Sanders have successfully defended their African Championships triathlon titles in Troutbeck, Zimbabwe. Now it’s on to the World Triathlon Series showdown in Cape Town next weekend.
Schoeman covered the testing combination of a 1500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike ride and 10km run in 2hr 00min 15sec for a clearcut win over London Olympian Richard Murray (2:01:49) and former world junior champion Wian Sullwald (2:02:26).
And Sanders, also part of Team South Africa at the London Olympics, notched her third consecutive African Championships title to go with the titles she won in 2012 and 2013.
Schoeman told Road to Rio 2016 on his return to South Africa: “I really like the course at Troutbeck, it’s really challenging and it brings out the strongest athlete. It’s a hilly and technical bike and run ale also at an altitude of 2100m.
The Durban-based athlete missed South African championships due to an ankle injury but was able to race the first WTS race of the year in Auckland, New Zealand two weeks ago.
“I used my swim to my advantage and had a good gap over Wian and the rest of the field and just anted to maintain my lead on the bike and go into the run without using too much effort. The bike was tough and I didn’t have the strength I usually have, probably still feeling the effects of Auckland and then travelling from NZ to Durban and then on to Zimbabwe during the week.”
Going into the run leg and Schoeman had some worries in the back of his mind. “I had some issues with energy intake in Auckland, so corrected that and felt much better throughout the run this time. I kept a comfortable gap between Richard and myself, knowing he has a very fast set of running legs. But I knew I had it on the last lap to I took its bit easier to save some strength for next weekend’s WTS.”
It’s also Schoeman’s third victory in Troutbeck. “The win means a lot to me after struggling with injuries over the last three months and with inconsistent training. Winning a big race like this is a great confidence booster going into Cape Town. Triathlon Zimbabwe were superb in their organisation of the race. I felt really at ease and only had my race to think about.”
– See more at: http://www.sascoc.co.za/2014/04/15/schoeman-sanders-celebrate-african-champs-success/#sthash.K6qkMTeI.dpuf