Coca-Cola quenches thirsty athletes

Andie Kuipers quenches her thirsty with a Coca-Cola cane after the elite women's race at Troutbeck.

BEVERAGES manufacturing giant Coca-Cola has reiterated its commitment towards supporting athletes to achieve their goals and dreams through the company's continued sponsorship of different sports codes in Zimbabwe.

The Coca-Cola franchise manager Barry Otieno encouraged stakeholders to savour a moment where passion meets purpose, sweat mingles with joy and the spirit of triathlon lives on.

This followed the successful hosting of the 16th edition of the Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup at Troutbeck resort in Nyanga on Saturday.

“Coca-Cola, a brand that resonates with joy, refreshment, and shared moments, is proud to be associated with this event led by Rick Fulton (event director). Our commitment to supporting sports and healthy lifestyles runs deep,” said Otieno.

“We believe that every drop of our iconic beverage fuels not just thirst but also dreams. Whether it’s the exhilaration of crossing the finish line or the camaraderie forged during training sessions Coca-Cola is there, celebrating with you."

He added that triathlon unites people by bringing them together.

“Triathlon is a celebration of human endurance, resilience, and the pursuit of excellence. It embodies the spirit of unity, pushing boundaries, and embracing challenges head-on. Today, we witnessed athletes from across the world converging here, to swim, cycle, and run their hearts out. Their dedication and passion inspire us all," Otieno said.

“I am privileged to witness the convergence of talent, resilience, and sheer grit. Our athletes — both seasoned and junior — have pushed their limits, defying fatigue, conquering doubts, and leaving their heartbeats on the tracks. Each stroke, each pedal, each stride is a testament to the human spirit’s indomitable will.

“You (athletes) are the heartbeat of this event. Your dedication, sacrifice, and unwavering focus are inspiring. As you dived into the water, pedal through the challenging terrain, and sprint toward the finish line, know that you carry the hopes of many. May your efforts be rewarded not only with victory but also with the satisfaction of knowing you’ve given your all.”

Otieno also recognised the presence of guest of honour, Sport deputy minister Emily Jesaya adding that together with the government, they can help build a sporting legacy.

Sports and Recreation Commission chairperson Gerald Mlotshwa also attended the games together with the association’s director of sport, Sebastian Garikayi.

“Your unwavering support for sports development and your commitment to nurturing talent are commendable. Together, we can create a legacy that transcends medals and records — a legacy of inspiration for generations to come," Otieno said.

"But our gratitude extends beyond Bonaqua, water by design! We stand on the shoulders of giants — the giants who believe in the transformative power of sports. Cimas IGO, African Sun, EcoCash, CFAO Motors, Rooneys, Simbisa Brands and MCM Legal, thank you for being the wind beneath our wings. Your partnership has elevated this festival into a multisport extravaganza, where dreams take flight."

Meanwhile, leading Zimbabwe triathlete Andie Kuipers finished fifth in the Elite Women category as she made her return to Troutbeck after four years. The USA-based athlete is pushing to qualify for the Paris Olympics later this year.

In the junior men category, Rohnan Nicholson finished sixth, Callum Smith (seventh), while Stanley Chasakara and Mandlenkosi Mthethwa occupied position eight and nine respectively.

Elizabeth Carr from Ireland took gold in the Elite Women event while South Africans, Anika Visser and Nicholas Horne, won gold medals in the junior women and junior men events respectively. Kadence Ribbink and Nathan Foster were runners up in the junior women and men while Marit Van Der Berg from Netherlands won silver in the elite men.

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