Le Roux moves up the ranks in victorious style - TeamSA

Le Roux changes age group in victorious fashion

Le Roux

By Mark Etheridge

Crowned African Youth Games women’s champion in Botswana three years ago, Madelaine le Roux is now hoping to start making waves in the Under-23 category.

That much was evident as the teenager swam, biked and ran her way to first place in the Gauteng provincial championships in Germiston at the weekend. She clocked a time of 2hr 14min 38sec for the 1500m swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

Not bad going for only the second-year sports conditioning student’s third attempt at the Olympic distance. ‘My first attempt at this distance was just over two hours but we only swam half the normal distance because of the cold water and then the second was about 15min slower than this weekend. I had a tough week’s training before the race and bonked completely on the run.’

On the doubling up of the distance now that she’s in the U23 ranks (she turns 20 on Sunday) she says: ‘It’s quite an adjustment, especially the 10km run at the end which is quite a mental block to overcome.

‘But this weekend’s race has bumped up my confidence a bit. Of course your body is also much more painful than a sprint distance but it’s still nice, a new challenge.’

There was also the challenge of being able to take on new opponents away from the limited fields in her home town of Bloemfontein. And her coach, Jono Rumbelow is based in Cape Town which doesn’t make things easier. For now though she’s happy in the Free State. After I’ve finished my studies I can maybe move a bit closer to Jono but we’ll just wait and see.’

Next big event on the triathlon calendar is February’s Discovery World Series and Le Roux will probably be more comfortable with the fact that it’s a sprint event and back to her more accustomed distances of 750m, 20km and 5km.

She found out on Monday that she has made the start list of the Elite Women’s event. ‘I’m excited but there are going to be a lot of BIG names on that starting list, Olympians from South Africa and around the world but It will be excellent experience for me.’

Like Le Roux, another rising star of the local triathlon circuit and also from Bloemfontein, Jayme Vermaas also tasted success at the weekend.rsz_img-20170117-wa0018

A 2014 Youth Olympian in Nanjing, China, she raced the KwaZulu-Natal championships at Midmar Dam. ‘I won my race but don’t know what my time was … something around 2:17 I think.

‘I’m still a junior but did the senior race for fun and some good training. This is my last year as a junior now,’ said Vermaas (pictured right) who was 16 at the time of the Youth Olympics.