BRISBANE, Australia – South Africa's top two triathletes will be chasing medals when the Commonwealth Games triathlon starts on Australia's Gold Coast on Thursday.
Richard Murray and Henri Schoeman are ranked second and third for the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run event.
Murray has already won two World Cup races (Cape Town and Mooloolaba) this year while Schoeman out-rode everybody on the cycle leg to win the Abu Dhabi World Series race.
National triathlon coach Lindsey Parry said he could see that both are in good form and highly-motivated.
“There is definitely a medal on the cards for South Africa. It is going to boil down to as who wants it the most and can keep his cool,” said Parry.
"There is a real chance that both can medal, but then they really will need to be on top of their game especially since both England’s Brownlee brothers (Alistair and Jonny) are racing.
"They are formidable triathletes. Alistair has won the gold medal at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games while Jonny won bronze and silver.”
Alistair Brownlee is the defending Commonwealth Games champion.
The Tuks/HPC-based coach predicts that at least nine of the athletes who will be competing have a realist chance to medal. He considers Wian Sullwald (Tuks/HPC) as the one who can cause a major upset.
At last year’s World Series race in the Gold Coast Sullwald finished ninth while Schoeman was eighth. The Commonwealth triathlon course is the same.
It’s Games time!! Excited and ready to compete tomorrow 🏊🏼♂️🚴🏼♂️🏃🏼♂️🇿🇦 pic.twitter.com/xYxJ5Wg150
Simone Ackermann and Gillian Sanders are South Africa’s two female triathletes competing.
Although it is highly unlikely, Parry is of the opinion that it would be a mistake to discount their chances to medal entirely.
“Simone proved she is quite good when there is a breakaway situation during a race. During the Cape Town World Cup, she showed that she has gotten a lot stronger on the run and that is good.
“If the women’s race can stay together, Gillian could surprise as she is solid on the run. Unfortunately, her swim has let her down in the past. Then again one of her best performances last year was at the Gold Coast when she finished ninth.”
The women’s race on Thursday will be broadcast live from 1:30am on DStv Channel 213 and the men’s race from 5am.
African News Agency (ANA)