By Mark Etheridge
Two-time Olympian Gill Sanders wrapped up her 2017 season with victory in the ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup at the weekend.
The race, contested over a 750-metre swim, 20km cycle and 5 run, was held in Dakhla, a disputed territory in the Western Sahara, governed by Morocco.
And Sanders outsprinted Czech Republic’s Petra Kurikova to win in 67min 02sec. That gave her winning margin of four seconds and saw her banking some valuable ranking points ahead of next year’s 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Taking the final podium place was Britain’s Hanna Howitt in 68:23.
‘I just wanted to test out some things I’ve been working on,’ London-based Sanders told Team SA. ‘I came out of the water third with the leaders.
‘I did most of the work on the bike, tried a few breakaways and managed to get the group down to five.
‘The purpose of the race was for me to get a hard race in my legs. On the run I ran with the Czech girl the whole way then sprinted with 400m to go.
‘I had no idea how fit I was. In hindsight maybe I should’ve tried to go harder sooner but was afraid of blowing up on so little training so I just backed my sprint and managed to get the win. It was fun and a nice little leg-sharpener for the off-season.’
Sanders is now off to Portugal and Spain next week for some warm-weather training till the end of the month.
Her first big event of the new year will be the World Cup on ‘home’ turf in Cape Town early in February.