HARARE – Mauritius’ Fabienne St Louis and Ayan Beisenbayev of Kazakhstan emerged the 2016 Schweppes Troutbeck ATU Triathlon African Cup winners in their respective women’s and men’s elite category competitions on Saturday. By Austin Karonga
St Louis completed an impressive comeback after coming out of the water in last position to win her first gold medal after 11 years of competing here at Troutbeck.
Her male counterpart Beisenbayev was the toast of the men’s event.
It was however, in the women category that had all the ingredients of a gruelling battle considering the fact that all the four women were familiar with the Troutbeck course and the race lived to its billing.
South Africa’s Lauren Dance was the first one out of the water from the swim but could not last the distance as she pulled out of the race.
Last year’s silver medal winner Cindy Schwulst finished second ahead of Carlyn Fischer who came third.
“It was a tough race like we all expected. I didn’t have a good swim but I managed to avoid a big gap. I went out of the water with Carlyn (Fischer) and we were working together on the bike both of us to catch the other girls in the front,” said St Luouis.
Fischer said she went against her doctor’s advice not to compete after suffering from a throat infection.
“Upon arrival in Zimbabwe I was a bit ill with a throat infection and the race doctor said I should not race but I decided to make the decision myself and I decided to race but not to push myself over the limit,” she said.
“In this type of racing you only get ranking points if you finish within eight percent of the winning time and I did just that. I think I finished within four percent of the winning time so did manage to reach my goal which I did set for myself.”
In the men’s race Jonathan Zipf from Germany finished second while South Africa’s Basson Engelbrecht came third.
There was no podium finish for last year’s silver medallist Bob Haller of Luxembourg as he settled for fourth place while Mehdi Essadiq of Morocco and Namibia’s Drikus Coetzee came a distant ninth and 10th respectively.
Beisenbayev said he was happy to win gold.
“I’m very happy with the result, the race was really hard and rarely fair because of the course,” Beisenbayev said.