Posted on April 18, 2017
South Africa's triathletes are truly a force to be reckoned with when they compete in international races, as they once again proved on Saturday, 8 April 2017, when Richard Murray finished second, Henri Schoeman eighth and Wian Sullwald ninth at the World Series event held on the Australian Gold Coast.
This was the second time in the past eight weeks that these three athletes finished among the top ten competitors in an international event. In the World Cup race held in Cape Town in February, Murray was the winner, followed by Schoeman in the second and Sullwald in the third place.
Murray is currently second in the World Series rankings, Schoeman fifth and Sullwald fourteenth.
Spain's Mario Mola won by outsprinting Murray by four seconds. His winning time for the 750 m swim, 20 km cycle and 5 km run was 52:35. Murray's time was 52:39, and Fernando Alarza (Spain) finished third with a time of 52:44. Schoeman and Sullwald both finished in 53:11. The fact that the first ten athletes were separated by only 39 seconds is an indication of how competitive the race was.
Murray, who compared the race to last year's Rio Olympic Games, commented, 'I gave everything I could and Mario was like a surging machine out there, like a car going in sports mode every twenty seconds! But I pushed as hard as I could and then I was on the rivet for maybe the last U-turn all the way to near transition and I stayed with him a few times.'
Sullwald's build-up to the race was far from ideal. While preparing for the New Plymouth World Cup during the previous week he had a chest infection. To add to his frustration, his bike and luggage went missing on his flight to the Gold Coast. The bicycle was finally returned to him only three hours before the commencement of race and his luggage only arrived after he had finished. Considering these setbacks, Sullwald was happy with the way his race played out and said, 'I had a reasonably good swim. Unfortunately I just missed the lead pack on the cycle leg, which meant I had to chase hard. I had a slight respite when a chase group, which included Richard (Murray), caught up with me. But as luck would have it, a rider crashed in front of me and although I just managed to miss him, in those few seconds I was dropped, which meant that I was chasing again. Due to the chest infection I experienced breathing problems and had to use an asthma pump.' The Tuks athlete admitted that he had made a few mistakes during his transition going into the run and added, 'I lost a few valuable seconds, but as they say, you have to learn from your mistakes.'
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