South Africa’s triathletes proved on Sunday at the World Series-race in London that they are good enough to compete against the world’s best with three of them finishing in the top twenty overall. Richard Murray finished 5th in the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run with a time of 51 minutes and 01 seconds. Henri Schoeman was seventh in 51:08 and Wian Sullwald 19th in 51:30. The winner was Alistair Brownlee, Britain’s Olympic champion.
His winning time was 50.39s, which means that the twenty top athletes were separated by less than 60 seconds. Murray was the fastest in the 5km run with a time of 14:12. Sullwald was one of nine other athletes who were able to run times faster than 14 minutes and 40 seconds. However, Sullwald has mixed emotions about the way his race played out.
The Tuks/HPC athlete says: ‘I am happy and also frustrated. Finishing 19th in a World Series race is obviously another step in the right direction. After all, getting a top-20 finish was what I had actually planned for. But I cannot help wondering what would have happened if I did not stuff up my swim. I had a bad start and from then on everything just went pear-shaped. The result of my bad swim was that I started the cycle in the second chasing group. In spite of giving my all to catch up with the leaders, the gap remained 40 seconds. That was where my frustration kicked in because I had an amazing run. I have no doubt that if I could run with the leaders, I might have been able to contest for a podium finish. But, as they say, let bygones be bygones. What is exciting is that I continue to improve. My result in London means that I improved my ranking on the International Triathlon Union’s (ITU) Olympics Qualification by 20 places. I am now ranked 87th. I also moved up 10 places on the ITU’s points list to number 53.’ Sullwald’s next race will be on 14 June when he will be competing in the Huatulco World Cup in Mexico.
He says: ‘I am confident of getting another good result. I just need to find out what I am doing wrong in my swim. It was the second race in which I had a bad swim. However, I am not worried because I know I am a good swimmer. It is probably just some small glitch that needs to be sorted out. I am very excited about the way my running is coming along.’