By Mark Etheridge
Two-time Olympic triathlete Kate Roberts has decided that ‘”local is lekker” as far as her sporting career is concerned.
Roberts, who took part in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 as well as last year’s Games in London, has previously based herself in Canberra, Australia as well as in Davos, Switzerland while competing in all four corners of the globe.
Now the 30-year-old Bloemfontein ace has decided to come back to her South African roots in the latest saga of her ongoing triathlon route and Pretoria will be her base of choice.
“The last few months have been quite tough and busy while I was deciding what to do and questioning whether I should keep pursuing my triathlon career and if so, where to go in terms of training etc,” she told Road to Rio 2016 on Tuesday. So I’ve sussed out all the options and decided where I’ll be both happiest and what will be best for me.”
In Pretoria she’ll be training at the High Performance Centre (HPC) and linking up with Lindsey Parry, who was triathlon manager/coach at the 2012 Olympics.
“Lindsey will be helping me and overseeing my training programme, he knows me well as an athlete and he’s excited to be working with me and that also motivates me.
“I’ll be training with a group of about five South African Under-23 triathletes, including Wian Sullwald [former world junior champion]. It’s very refreshing training with them they’ll definitely be great training partners for me.”
On the swimming front she hooks up with Rocco Meiring and his squad at Tukkies/HPC. “He’s been very helpful and is keen to help me improve.”
Roberts is already focused on next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland but before that there’s a big date in the Mother City.
“With Cape Town hosting a leg of the ITU World Series race on 27/28 April, it’s going to be a wonderful opportunity to showcase our sport at the highest level to the South African public and also for the rest of the world and ITU (International Triathlon Union) to experience the world’s most beautiful city. I’m really very keen to perform well in front of home crowd support so I’ll build up towards that race and then take things from there.
“If I do well at the Cape Town race and the races in the build-up, SA Sprint Championships in February, national Olympic distance Championships in March and African Championships in Zimbabwe in April, then I’ll hopefully qualify for Commonwealth where I hope to be able to really perform at my best.”
Roberts also paid tribute to her former coach, Australian Darren Smith with whom she has trained for the past few years. “I learnt so much and gained so much experience from Darren and I’ll certainly miss working with him and his squad of athletes.
“But I’m so happy to feel more settled in my life now, by being based in Pretoria and South Africa and working towards building my future plans in life post triathlon. I have been travelling the world and living out of a suitcase for the last five years.
“It’s going to be challenging but I’m up for it and determined to give my best. Everything’s looking very positive and I’m excited for the new change to my life, and of course, to being based more in South Africa.”