YOKOHAMA – Three athletes will fly the South African flag as the qualifying process for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the triathlon begins in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday.
Last month’s Commonwealth Games champion Henri Schoeman leads the charge with fellow Team SA athletes Richard Murray and former world junior champion Wian Sullwald joining him.
Schoeman and Murray both competed in Bermuda two weeks ago but neither would be too happy with their results, as Schoeman ended eighth and Murray withdrew during the run leg as a precautionary measure due to back pain.
Nevertheless, Murray is upbeat ahead of the weekend’s racing.
“I did the best I could to recover from Bermuda’s back issues and I feel much better. Here’s hoping I can pull a good race together,” he told TeamSA.
“The problem was a bike position that may have caused the back problems. My set-up wasn’t right.”
Murray, though, is no stranger to the Japanese event.
“I think I’ve raced here three times already. It’s got a fast run, which is good.”
The South Africans will be out to prevent top-ranked Mario Mola making it three successive wins.
Two of the Norwegians who raced to a clean sweep of the podium in Bermuda (a first-ever) are back racing. They are Kristian Blumenfeldt and Gustav Idea.
No South Africans are featured in the women’s race with Commonwealth participants Gill Sanders and Simone Ackermann are both not competing.
Ackermann is recovering from an injury that forced her below-par performance in the mixed team relay on Gold Coast, while London-based Sanders’ next race will be a French Grand Prix event and then the Nottingham leg of the ITU calendar, a mixed relay event.
African News Agency (ANA)