Africa Triathlon moved to Sept

MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

Triathlon Zimbabwe has resolved to reschedule their flagship event, the Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck to September following its postponement due to the new government-imposed strict Covid lockdown measures.

On Monday, Triathlon Zimbabwe announced the postponement of the international event and all its associated multi-sport events initially pencilled in for February 20 at Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga.

This was a culmination of extensive discussions with the event Local Organising Committee (LOC), medical specialists, sponsors and other stakeholders.

Earlier in the month Triathlon Zimbabwe expressed the desire to approach the SRC with the view of staging the event in spite of the obtaining Covid-19 situation in the country as preparation to host the event were already at an advanced stage.

But the association has been swift in coming up with new dates for the event.

“Following a final meeting held last night (Tuesday), we are pleased to announce that a new date for the event has been set for Saturday 25 September 2021. This decision was measured against many key considerations mainly centred around the current lockdown, ban on sporting events, restriction of 30 persons at gatherings, travel and quarantine regulations to name a few,” Triathlon Zimbabwe president Dave Ellis said in a statement.

Top events in South Africa such as the Africa Triathlon Cup Masselspoort and Africa Triathlon Cup Durban have been cancelled while the Africa Triathlon Championships Shandrani (Mauritius) has also been rescheduled.

Ellis explained why they settled for a date in September.

“Several other dates in April and October were considered but these had some associated problems and it was decided that 25 September would be the better option.  This date falls within the new Triathlon season (September 2021- April 2022), but is still relevant to the event being hosted within 2021 from an International, Continental, Regional and local perspective.

“Added to this, is the possible rescheduling of an African Junior Development Camp hosted at the same time as the event (as in 2020) which can only improve the African Junior Elite field.

Racing conditions at this time of the year were also closely considered.  Water temperature records at Troutbeck in September are between 18 – 22 degrees C, the weather will be warmer than February and with little to no chance of the rain,” he said.

“Approval from SRC permitting, it will be the intention of Triathlon Zimbabwe to look at realigning the current 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons to facilitate athlete preparations for this event date as it will include the 2021 National Championships.

“It is our full intention to continue hosting this flagship and prestigious event, and to deliver a professional and high-profile International event as we have done for the past 14 years.

“We are hopeful that many of the current scenarios that have forced this postponement will no longer be in place for the revised date but we are all critically aware of the extreme level of this crisis that our beloved Zimbabwe is now facing,” he said.

However, Traithlon Zimbabwe looks to resume activities as soon as they get the green light from the SRC.

Swiss Olympic triathlete Andrea Salvisberg won the men’s elite title at the 2020 edition while Russia’s Anastasia Abrosimova was the women’s champion.

Zimbabwe’s Laurelle Brown settled for second position in the women’s elite competition ahead of Tunisian Ons Lajili in third place.

South Africa completed a clean sweep of all podium places in junior women’s race with siblings Kira and Kayla Ribbik finishing first and second respectively while their compatriot Nadya Stolarczy finished third.

Top local female junior triathlete Andie Kuipers finished fourth while Mikayla Colegrave settled for fifth position and Luke Heathcote-Hacker was the highest placed Zimbabwean in the junior men race after a fourth overall position.