2018 triathlon off the blocks

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ALL is set for the 11th anniversary of the annual Troutbeck Triathlon African Cup event scheduled for Nyanga on Saturday.

Zimbabwe Triathlon Union president Rick Fulton, despite bemoaning the drain of talent from the country and absence of the sport in schools, was delighted with the partnership of a mineral water company in sponsoring the sport in the country.

a�?Development for us is a critical area and a sound development system going on with the junior athletes up to university level and like every other sport in the country, we are suffering from the drain of good talent going out of the country and another challenge we are a facing is the absence of the sport in the school curricula but we believe with the support from Bonaqua we will be able to continue nurturing talent and come up with the best athletes,a�? said Fulton.

He added: a�?We have heard a lot on the requirement of the resurgence of sport in our country and Ia��m afraid resources need to be made available. It is something that none of us can hide away from and our sport is no different and obviously for us our relationship with CocaA�-Cola and Schweppes is a key part of that.a�?

Seasoned Zimbabwean triathlete Rory Mackie (36) is the latest entrant in this yeara��s event. HeA� joins Gideon Benade (19) as the only Zimbabwean elite men for the annual event. The two are the first Zimbabweans to take part in the Troutbeck event since former Olympian Christopher Felgate last competed in 2012.

Mackie last competed in Troutbeck in April 2006 when he finished second to South African Erhard Wolfaardt. His last international recorded race was in August of the same year when he competed in the Mombasa International Triathlon Union African Cup and emerged fourth.

Reports in January 2007 indicated that Mackie had quit as a professional triathlete, almost seven years after taking the local triathlon scene by storm.

He attributed his decision to a troublesome shoulder injury, which he sustained after being attacked by an elephant in November 2003.

With Jonathan Zipf of Germany having withdrawn, the elite men start list remains at 16. As was the case last year, defending champions are not taking part in Troutbeck. German born Jonas Schomburg, the elite mena��s winner in 2017, and womena��s champion Aoi Kuramoto of Japan are not competing this year.

Schomburg lived up to his pre-event favourite tag when he beat Namibia dark horse, Jean-Paul Burger to second place and Linus Stimmel of Germany to third. Kuramoto, who also came into the women race as the front runner beat South African Cindy Schwulst to second and her compatriot, Chika Sato to third. The Troutbeck event has had Africa Triathlon Cup status for 11 years, making it the longest running competition on the African continent.

Prize money for this year stands at $3 000, with first place in the elite men and women set to pocket $750 each, while $450 will go to runners-up and $300 to third place finishers.

Distances for this yeara��s event have been reduced, with the elite competitors set to do a 750m swim, cycle for 20km and run 5km. In 2017, the distances were 1 500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

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