Kaylee Dekker (11) of Rondebosch and Rachel Heilbron (11) of Fresnaye are the youngest female participants at the Discovery World Triathlon Series this weekend, 26 and 27 April. The race will be hosted at the V& A Waterfront in Cape Town, making it the first time that the prestigious event will be held on the African continent.
The young women have never met. While they may come from different walks of life, they share two things – their love for athletics and a birthday. The girls were born on the same day. Dekker, a learner at the International School of Cape Town was born in Dublin, and has lived in four different countries. Heilbron is from Cape Town and is a learner at the United Herzlia School in Highlands Estate.
Triathlon is a multiple discipline competition and participants will complete three endurance disciplines namely swimming, cycling and running. The rules stipulate that participants under the age of 15 years are compelled to compete in a relay team of three. Dekker will be teaming up with her dad Erik Dekker (49) and her friend Chelsea Mills (16). While Dekker is an avid swimmer, she will be running the 5 km leg of the event. Rachel will be teaming up with her school friends, Bianca Curitz (11) and Sarah Katz (12).
Dekker swims at least 5 times a week and enjoys taking part in cross-country, biathlons and cycling events. S he has competed in four multi discipline events, including three triathlon events in Dubai, and the South African Biathlon Championship in South Africa where she won a bronze medal in her age category.
Dekker recalls, “Winning a medal at the biathlon is one of my biggest achievements. It was only my fourth multi discipline race ever!” Dekker’s other greatest achievement includes winning the gold medal for the 50m and 100m Butterfly at the South African Swimming Championships.
Dekker says, “My greatest inspiration is Michael Phelps and my grandparents, who were both national sportsmen. My goal is to break at least one Western Province swimming and biathlon record.”
Photo: Father and daughter, Erik and Kaylee, are photographed will their finisher medals after competing on a tandem bicycle in the 2014 Cape Argus for ‘Dads and Kids Argus Riders’.