If Wian Sullwald (Tuks/HPC) could have one wish come true in 2016 it would certainly be to stay healthy and injury free at least until after the Olympic Games in Rio. The 22-year-old proved with his 6th place finish in the World Series race in Edmonton that he is without a doubt a talented triathlete. Unfortunately it seems as if ‘Lady Luck’ has singled him out for some personal attention because he had a season riddled with ill-timed setbacks.
The worst of these setbacks was suffering from tick bite fever which caused havoc to his immune system. He was also handicapped at crucial times by serious injuries which prevented him from performing at his best. In spite of not having the best of seasons Sullwald is still on track to represent South Africa at the Games in Rio.
He is currently ranked 29th on the International Triathlon Union’s point list. Sullwald says: ‘If I can race to the best of my ability in two of the World Series events I will qualify for the Olympic Games, and I know I can.’ Lindsey Parry, his coach at Tuks/HPC agrees, saying: ‘I am confident that we will get Wian to the Games and he won’t just be there to make up the numbers. Over the past two years we have made quite a few mistakes. You can use the word ‘bad luck’ but in my opinion we made mistakes. It is bad luck to get tick bite fever. As a coach I have learned a lot about what works for Wian and what does not. Wian himself has also grown as a person as well as an athlete during the past 18 months. He now knows how his body works from own personal experience. If he feels that something we are doing is not quite right, he can get involved in the process of figuring out what we are doing wrong. I am confident that next year Wian will be able to be competitive in three to four successive races at a time.’
Sullwald says one of the mistakes he made this past season was travelling too much to race: ‘It started catching up with me towards the end of the season.’ Sullwald is planning to compete in athletics and cross-country races next year in an effort to help him become a stronger runner.“I am hoping to be able to race between 3 000 metres and 10 000 metres on the track. It ought to help me to improve my running speed and that is important in triathlon because quite often a race is won or lost on the run.’
Sullwald plans to start his season by competing in the World Series event in Abu Dhabi (4 March).