No less than 6 athletes of the Pretoria University /hpc have been selected by Triathlon South Africa. CEO of hpc, Toby Sutcliffe is quite rightly proud of that achievement. “It just goes to show that the facilities and expertise available here at the University of Pretoria’s hpc are amongst the best in the country and compare favorably with international standards. Why else would we have various Sporting Federations the World over come and train here; and why else can we consistently announce that South African athletes who train here are included in National Teams.”
Lindsey Parry, TUKS Manager Performance Lab, is ecstatic about the team selection. Parry, himself and accomplished tri-athlete, is the team leader for the U19 and U23 Tri-athlon South Africa High Performance Team and will be accompanying the group to Vancouver. “I don’t think we should be expecting to come back with heaps of medals, that is not our intention. Amongst the Juniors there are always athletes that pop up out of nowhere. For us it is about the long term careers of these youngsters.” In particular Parry is keen to see how Richard Murray performs. Murray is a former World Duathlon Champion and tends to struggle a bit on the swim. “Richard has worked hard on his swim. I know he is an exceptionally strong biker and runner so if he is anywhere near the leaders coming out of the water then he will be very dangerous indeed. It all depends on his swim.”
Wickus Weber is another to look out for. In March this year he ran away with the All Africa Title in Tunisia, but more importantly Wickus has already had a taste of a podium finish when he claimed bronze at last years World Championships. His first two World Championships were steep learning curves, then the big breakthrough for the Bronze. His Achilles heel though is his running and the rest of the entrants will field some strong runners. That means that Wickus will need to get as much an advantage as he can in the swim and the bike legs.
Ashleigh Blackwell is another prodigious talent to look out for. 2nd overall at this year’s All Africa Champs and first South African, Ashleigh’s strength is clearly on the bike. The Junior rode away with both the Time Trial and Road Race Titles at this years' SA Cycle Championships in East London. Parry also believes she is a strong swimmer but that the run leg needs attention.
Then there is Carla Germishuys. The 24 year old only started the sport 4 years ago and was selected to go to the World Championships in her first year of competition. In 2005 she finished 36th. A year later she was 7th!!!!! and last year she finished 8th. Carla competes in the 20-24-age category and is a serious danger for a podium. Look out for a full profile on this talented athlete later.
The other hpc athletes are Loyd De Jager and Vicky van der Merwe.