When Wian Sullwald (Tuks/HPC) competes in the African Triathlon Championships in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday, his main goal will be to get rid of his frustrations. Sullwald says: ‘Actually I see the African Championships as starting anew from the bottom rung of the ladder to success. My next step on the ladder will be the Yokohama race of the World Series in Japan (16 May). I plan to focus on one race at a time until I am again able to be truly competitive in international racing. I realize that it will take some time before I am able to do so. The last couple of weeks have been very frustrating. I certainly did not have the best of starts to my season. Just when I had recovered from the injuries I sustained last year, I caught a gold which turned into flu and forced me to stop during the cycle leg of the World Series event at Australia’s Gold Coast. I then competed in the World Series event Cape Town, knowing very well that I would not be at my best. I just had to give it a go because I do not often get an opportunity to race in front of a big home crowd. According to the doctors at the High Performance Centre (HPC), my immune system took a serious knock because of the tick bite fever I suffered from and that is the reason why I get sick so easily. I really appreciate the way in which everybody at the HPC, as well as the decision makers of Triathlon South Africa, have been supporting me.’ Actually, considering the circumstannces, Sullwald did not do too badly at the World Series race in Cape Town. He started the 10km run merely seven seconds behind the race leaders. Unfortunately there is truth in the saying that ‘what you put in is what you get out’.
Because Sullwald was not able to train properly, his body began to rebel over the last few kilometres and he eventually completed the 10km run in 38 minutes, nearly six minutes slower than the times he usually runs. He says: ‘I just did not have anything to give when it really mattered. It was a terrible experience, but at least I gave it a go.’ According to Sullwald he has been able to do some good solid hard training since Cape Town: ‘The fact that I was able to train properly has been rewarding and it is also a confidence booster. I have not really tapered for the African Championships and my fitness is certainly not what it should be, so it will take some clever racing on Sunday to achieve the result I want. I cannot wait to go out there and have a good race again. Hopefully I have had my share of bad luck for a while.’
Photo credit: Chris Hitchcock