BY DANIEL NHAKANISO IN NYANGA
JUSTUS Nieschlag and Nina Eim completed a German clean sweep of the Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup after emerging triumphant in the men’s and women’s elite category respectively, while Zimbabwe’s junior triathletes also put up an impressive show at the Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga yesterday.
Twenty-six year-old Nieschlag, who is a member of the Germany national team, and a former European junior champion seven years ago, dominated the men’s elite field to become the third successive German winner after compatriots Jonas Schomburg and Jonas Breinlinger, who won the 2017 and 2018 Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup elite men’s titles respectively.
Nieschlag finished ahead of his compatriot Maximilian Schwetz while Ireland’s Constantine Doherty claimed the bronze medal.
In the women’s elite race Eim recovered from a slow start in the 750m swim leg to romp to victory ahead of South African Amber Schlebush while the pre-race favourite Carolyn Hayes from Ireland settled for the third step on the podium.
Although Zimbabwe’s only male triathlete Gideon Benade failed to live up to expectations after finishing 18th out of 19 competitors, local junior triathletes put up an impressive show in the inaugural Bonaqua ATU Junior African Cup, which ran concurrently with the ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup.
Matthew Denslow was the toast of the Zimbabwean junior athletes after winning the gold medal in the Bonaqua ATU Junior African men’s race, which attracted 18 participants.
The Hellenic Academy student, who recently won a bronze medal at the Discovery Triathlon World Cup in Cape Town, recovered from a slow swim leg to dominate the bike and running legs as he finished ahead of the eventual silver medallist Mohamed Aziz Sebai from Tunisia.
Another Tunisian triathlete Seifeddine Selmi won the bronze medal.
“The win means everything to me because I’ve been preparing for this race for such a long time and in the last few years I’ve fallen just a bit short and I’m glad all the hard work has paid off,” an elated Denslow told reporters after his win.
“It was a very tough race from the start; I’m not the greatest of swimmers so the swim was really hard, I really had to push to keep up in the swim. I had a really great race on the bike, I broke away on the last lap and got a bit of a gap going into the run, but I got caught, which was a bit demotivating, but I kept it going until the last 500 metres,” he said.
The Bonaqua ATU Junior African women’s race was won by Nadya Stolarczyk while Zimbabwe’s Mikayla Colegrave clinched the silver medal.
Another Zimbabwean, Andie Kuipers, narrowly missed out on a podium finish after finishing fourth behind the bronze medallist Kayla Ribbink from South Africa.