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Africa’s finest head for Durban

Durban hosts the 2009 ATU Triathlon African Championships on Saturday and Sunday 4 – 5 July at the uShaka Marine World.

Some 120 athletes from Africa will be competing for the title of Africa’s best. For the South African contingent of elite athletes much more is at stake, as the Championships also form part of the selection races of Triathlon South Africa for the World Championships on the Gold Coast in Australia in September this year (9-13 September).

A squad of juniors will also be chosen from these Championships to tour Europe later this year.

The first ATU Championships were held as far back as 1993 in Gordon’s Bay near Cape Town. Fittingly the first winners were Conrad Stoltz and Hannele Steyn of South Africa. Stoltz, a double Olympian has gone on to be the premier Xterra Triathlete in the World with three World Championship Titles to his name and the 2009 Xterra USA Series leader with three out of four wins so far.

The Championships will for the first time include a series of relays, an endeavour by the International Triathlon Union to showcase an event to be included in the future Olympic Programme. The relays should garner quite a bit of interest. Teams are made up of three male and three female athletes, but unlike the usual team triathlon where one individual does the swim leg, another the bike leg and the third the run leg, this team relay sees each member complete all three disciplines, namely swim 400m, bike 8km and run 3km.

The Olympic distance races (Elite, U23 and senior age groups) feature a 1,500m swim (two laps), 40km bike (eight laps) and 10km run.

While the South African elite athletes will be vying for places on the starting line up at the World Championships and the juniors for the European trip, the field will be racing for a total purse of R101 000 with the breakdown below:

Elite (incl U/23 Elite) Category (R70 000)
1st – R10 500
2nd – R 8 750
3rd – R 6 300
4th – R 5 250
5th – R 4 200
If less than 10 athletes compete, only 1 ÔÇô 4th eligible for prize money.
If less than 7 athletes compete, only 1 ÔÇô 3rd eligible for prize money.

Junior Category (16 ÔÇô 19) (R10 000)
1st – R 2 500
2nd – R 1 500
3rd – R 1 000
If less than 7 athletes compete, only 1st and 2nd eligible for prize money.

Senior Relay Category (per team) (R15 000)
1st – R 3 750
2nd – R 2 250
3rd – R 1 500
If less than 7 teams compete, only 1st and 2nd team eligible for prize money.

Junior Relay Category (per team) (R6 000)
1st – R 1 500
2nd – R 900
3rd – R 600
If less than 7 teams compete, only 1st and 2nd team eligible for prize money.