The second selection triathlon event of the 2015-16 season, which took place Sunday (8 November 2015) at Mt Pleasant Pool, showed a new burst of talent at the junior levels. The Zimbabwe Triathlon Association was excited to see an increase in the number of participants in Sunday’s selection event, citing development of the sport. Points gained from such local Sunday races will lead to the selection of the Zimbabwe team which will compete in the next South African Championships on 13 March 2016 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Peterhouse Girls student Andie Kuipers has started the season on a particularly impressive note, winning her age group in all three races in which she has contested. On Sunday, Kuipers finished her course in 41.21 minutes ahead of second place finisher Mana Evershed. Kuipers, known for her prowess in inter-schools cross-country and long distance athletics events, promises to be a force to reckon with on the junior girls triathlon scene in the years to come.
In the boys 16-17 year category, Alex Colegrave won in a convincing time of 1:08.08, three and a half minutes before second place finisher Andoni Mutzuris who crossed the finish line in 1:11.34. Callum Waterfall finished first in the boys 14-15 age group in 36.39.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to national triathlon development in Zimbabwe is retaining children’s interest in the sport once they reach high school. Whereas Sunday’s competition included over 32 small boys and girls in the U8 and U9 tri-kids races, by the start of high school at age 13, there are only 1-5 boys or girls in each age group category.
At the senior high school levels, Drew Williams of St John’s College competed uncontested in the Boys 18-19 age group, finishing in 1:05.42. His teammate, Rebecca Duncan of Chisipite Senior, who represented Zimbabwe with Williams at the Junior World Championships in Chicago in September, easily won the women’s category in a time of 1:17.51.
Newcomer to the sport, Arundel U6 student Sarah Hawgood, finished second in 1:23.04 in the girls 18-19 age group. Although Hawgood, winner of last year’s Troutbeck Open Swim had participated in one previous triathlon using a mountain bike, this was her first competition on a road racing bike. She made up for lost time from the cycling leg with a solid run to claim second place.