Benade Relishes Elite Men Debut At Troutbeck

GIDEON Benade, one of the two Zimbabweans competing in the elite men at the Bonaqua Troutbeck Africa Triathlon Union African Sprint Triathlon Cup in Nyanga is looking forward to competing against the best in the world on Saturday. 
Benade has over the years competed in the juniors section and is making his seniors first appearance. He is one of the two Zimbabweans taking part in the elite men’s race together with veteran Rory Mackie. The 36-year old Mackie, who retired from professional triathlon in 2007, is making a return to a venue where he last competed at in 2006.

Speaking at a press conference on the eve of the race, Benade said for him it is a matter of learning since he is up against triathletes who have been competing at a higher level for a longer time than him. 

“This race is about learning for me, I know the course so I know what to expect, it’s just about how the race is going to pan out on the day. Obviously, because we have a bigger field of elites and all these guys have probably been racing longer than I am so a tougher mindset is needed. In terms of preparation its just basically the same, try to do it fast as possible,’’ Benade said.

He indicated that most of those he is going up against are individuals he has looked up to since his days as a junior.

“It’s good to be racing with these guys, obviously I’ve looked at them as a junior as some of my idols so to be racing with them is good fun and a great honour,’’ he said.

Namibian Jean-Paul Burger, the second best man is looking to secure a place on the podium so as to earn himself some points. With last year’s winner, Jonas Schomburg not taking part in this year’s race, Burger and Linus Stimmel are the favourites for the elite men.

”I definitely would like the podium, for us, it’s a lot about gathering points at these events because it’s a smaller starting field, there are only 15 athletes of us in the field makes everybody easier to get the points. If all goes well, I try my best and see what happens on the day,’’ Burger said.

South African Cindy Schwulst, who took second place last year is finally looking to win the race. Schwulst and Yan Yin Hilda Choi of Hong are front-runners among the elite women with last year’s winner, Aio Kuramoto absent.

“I always seem to finish second here so I am going to give it my best tomorrow (Saturday), we will see hopefully it will go well and have a good race,’’ said Schwulst.

Fifteen elite men, as well as five women, are taking part in this year’s completion. The distances have been reduced with triathletes to do a 750-metre swim, cycle for 20 kilometres and run over 5km.

The prize money package for this year stands at $3 000 with first place in the elite men and women to pocket $750 each, $450 will go to second-placed triathletes while those third will take home $300

- @Mdawini_29


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