GERMANY’S Jonas Breinlinger completed a fairytale maiden visit to Zimbabwe by winning the 2018 edition of the Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup at the Troutbeck Resort here yesterday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO IN NYANGA
The 23-year-old, who was making his first trip to Zimbabwe, battled the incessant rain to complete the 750m swim, 20km cycle leg and 5km run ahead of the strong men’s elite field of 15 triathletes.
Australia’s Nicholas Free settled for second position while the pre-race favourite Jean-Paul Burger of Namibia claimed third position.
Zimbabwe will have to wait at least another year before they can have a winner in the men’s elite race after the duo of debutant Gideon Benade and veteran Rory Mackie came 12th and 14th respectively.
The 20-year-old Benade was making his debut in the men’s elite category while 36-year-old Mackie was making his first appearance in international competition for the first time in 12 years.
The duo are the first Zimbabweans to compete in the men’s elite category since the retirement of Olympian Chris Felgate in 2012.
In the women’s elite race, South African Cindy Schwulst finally got it right after crossing the finish line first to end a disappointing run of near misses in the last three editions of the race.
Schwulst, who had finished second in the last three editions of the Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup in 2015, 2016 and last year, claimed top spot in the winner’s podium after a spirited fightback in the bike and run stages of the race.
After coming out of the 750m swim in last position, Schwulst recovered superbly in the 20km cycle race and 5km run to complete an impressive win.
Schwulst finished ahead of Jayme-Sue Verma while Hilda Yah Yin from Hong Kong settled for third position.
“After so many tries it feels very good to finally finish first. I have been working a lot more on my running and towards the end of last year I did a lot of work on my cycling as well, my swim wasn’t great I may need to work on that again, but going forward I’m happy with the fitness and I know what I need to work on,” Schwulst said after the race.
South Africa’s Shane Williams had looked well poised to claim victory after coming out of the swim leg first, but her bike developed a mechanical fault during the cycle run, forcing her to withdraw from the race.
The Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup was officially opened by Sport, Arts and Recreation minister Kazembe Kazembe.