HARARE – Zimbabwe will be searching for a new hero from Saturday’s Troutbeck ITU African Triathlon Cup following the retirement of the country’s leading triathlete Chris Felgate last year.
Felgate, a veteran of two Olympic Games, bade farewell to his close to two-decade career on a high note after finishing second behind Henri Schoeman of South Africa at last year’s African Cup held at the Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga.
Zimbabwe will also be missing reigning African champion Laurelle Brown, who is in Europe for studies, but national triathlon team coach Wayne Davidson believes the up and coming youngsters are still capable of harvesting some medals.
“There is much to look forward to, as the incoming group of athletes have previously dominated the junior ranks, where Skye Davidson has already won six continental junior medals,” Davidson told the Daily News.
“Alongside Skye we have Karishma Patel, Helen Mitchell and Serena Rendell – all of whom have stood on the podium at continental level and should provide the necessary support base for Skye to launch her trademark devastating run leg that has been so successful over the years, but should she fail, there will be a powerful group of very capable young women all with the necessary talent to secure success.”
The locals will also field a junior elite men field and although they have often played second fiddle to their women counterparts, the boys will be determined to reclaim their superiority.
“Drew Williams looks the obvious choice for success, having previously won a continental gold medal against similar opposition, and being a Nyanga resident he will be racing on home turf and looking to cement his place as the future of men’s Triathlon in Zimbabwe,” added Davidson.
“However, he will be hard pressed against very strong South African and Mauritian teams and will look for support from the very promising looking Gideon Benade, whom some rate as even better than Williams.”
The countries represented this morning include South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt and the United States. The event will be used as a trial run as Zimbabwe is set to host the Africa Continental Championships in March.
The Trans Limpopo Challenge, a two part "test" series between Zimbabwe and South Africa that was introduced last year as a way of improving the standard and regularity of competition between the two countries, will also be featured.
“Last year South Africa dominated the competition, but Zimbabwe will be looking towards this new crop of athletes to put SA to the sword and secure test match success,” said Davidson.