Ellina Mhlanga in NYANGA
ZIMBABWE’S representative at the Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup, Gideon Benade, says he wants to continue developing himself at this event.
His main target is going to the 2024 Olympic Games.
Benade is among 19 athletes racing in the elite men’s category today at Troutbeck.
He is making his second appearance at the event.
“Tomorrow (today) is going to be good. Hopefully, we won’t have too much rain tomorrow so that we can have a dry course for fast times.
“I am still learning, still developing myself as an athlete. But I will have just a similar strategy to last year, trying to build it up and race my own race against all these guys.
“I learnt that (even) if it’s your first time you are not always going to come last, you just race your own race and eventually I pulled through.
‘’I was hoping not to come last and I didn’t,” said Benade.
The Marondera-based athlete had to take a break for two months due to sickness towards the end of last year and he is starting build towards the 2024 Olympics.
“I was attacked by fever and I had to pull out for two months from training and then after that I had to restart.
‘’I have only really had about two months of training.
“Now, I have to restart and think about the Olympics in 2024,” said Benade.
The event attracted athletes from several countries, including Germany, Ireland, South Africa, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Mauritius and Morocco
Last year’s winner in the elite men Jonas Breinlinger from Germany pulled out after he fell sick while in South Africa.
In the women’s race seven athletes will be competing after two dropped out and the limelight will be on two-time African champion Carolyn Hayes from Ireland.
She claimed two African titles last December when finishing first at the Dakhla ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup in Morocco as well as in Dakar, Senegal.
Hayes will be competing at Troutbeck for the first time.
“First time here in Zimbabwe and it’s very beautiful, it’s quite like home, as well, because it’s so green and quite wet with the rains. So, I am really looking forward to racing here.
“I am probably as prepared as everyone else is. The course is the same for everyone. It’s a different country and different course and the level of athletes is obviously different.
“I haven’t raced a lot of these girls, some of them I have raced, so everything comes to who brings the best tomorrow,” said Hayes.
This year will also see Zimbabwe staging the Troutbeck ATU Junior African Cup which features athletes from Zimbabwe, Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Tunisia.
There are several events that will also take place today, including the Zimbabwe National Triathlon Championships.