By Mark Etheridge
It was a case of crash and burn for our two female triathletes on day one of the Commonwealth Games.
On an uncharacteristically hot Glasgow day, deja vu raised its ugly head for two-time Olympian Kate Roberts as she once again crashed to the tar barely three kilometres into the 40km cycle leg.
It was just like what happened in the 2012 London Olympics where Roberts also took a tumble early on in the bike leg.
On Thursday she went on to finish 15th in a time of 2hr 11min 45sec as fellow South African Gill Sanders pulled away in the final stages of the race to claim 14th in 2:11:01.
Race winner was England’s Jodie Stimpson in 1:58:56. She also won Africa’s first World Triathlon Series event in Cape Town earlier this year.
‘I just couldn’t believe it,’ Roberts told Road to Rio 2016, after Canadian Ellen Pennock’s bike had clipped her rear wheel.
‘I don’t know what happened, one thing I was going along chasing after the lead group and the next thing I was on the ground. My bike was pretty messed up and it seemed like an eternity before I was up and riding again.
‘And by that stage I was way, way back.’ she reflected as she gazed down upon a grazed right elbow and various other points of pain.
Also riding with Roberts was Melissa Hewett of New Zealand at the time of the crash and Hewett was the first non-podium finisher in fourth spot.
It didn’t help her cause that the bike leg was a rather technical affair. ‘My brakes weren’t working properly,’ so it was tough.’
On the run leg the SA duo ran together for 80% of the way and certainly didn’t kill themselves.
Explained Sanders: ‘By that stage we were way out of contention and because we have a very real chance of medalling in Saturday’s mixed relay event my coach and husband both advised me to just turn the run into a tempo run and keep something in the tank.
‘I didn’t have a great swim and it was a big pack up front that could work well together.
‘The bike course was tough but a really good test.’
Summing up she battled to explain her flat form. ‘No excuses, I’ve had a great build-up I’m healthy, I just had a cranky swim.
‘The big difference between this and the Olympics is that In London I made the front bunch of the swim but here I didn’t.
‘When it came to the final 2km of the run, I pushed a bit at the top of the hill 2km out from home because I still wanted to beat Kate.
‘Now we just have to forget about what happened today and concentrate on the relay event on Saturday.’
Our three men’s competitors, Richard Murray, Henri Schoeman and Wian Sullwald will be hoping to put smiles back on SA faces later on Thursday.