By Mark Etheridge
With 2012 Olympian Richard Murray sidelined with a broken collar bone and hand injury, Henri Schoeman now willingly or unwillingly wears the ‘host nation favourite’ tag at Sunday’s Discovery World Triathlon in Cape Town.
Murray took a dive in a high speed crash during the Gold Coast leg of the WTS calendar in Australia earlier this month.
So he’s on spectator duty on Sunday as Schoeman looks for a continued upwards curve in the elite men’s division as he recovers from a knee injury.
His thoughts on Sunday’s sprint event, at 750-metre swim, 20km cycle and 5km run, half the Olympic distance?
‘Well it’s always exciting having a local WTS with home crowd advantage,’ he told Road to Rio 2016.
‘It’s extra motivation to push that bit harder and race well.
‘The swim could be challenging with cold waters and weather predictions could create more challenges.
‘But my form has been improving and I had a good result two weeks ago in Gold Coast [he was 12th as in-form Spaniard Mario Mola won]. I’m confident for a better result this weekend.
And how’s that troublesome knee?
‘It’s all good now thankfully, the last time I felt pain was last week.’
As for a different approach due to the short and sharp nature of the race. ‘There isn’t necessarily a change in plan for the race. I’m having slightly more intense workouts in the build-up. The sprint race is ideal and a chance to be introduced to faster racing.’
Meanwhile in another boost for local fans, London based Gillian Sanders will, after all, be racing on Sunday.
Originally, this race wasn’t on her racing schedule but things changed after a DNF (Did Not Finish) at Gold Coast.
‘I got back last Tuesday and my coach said “you’re not racing, too much travel”,’ she told Road to Rio 2016.
‘Then I did a track session on Wednesday evening and was flying… exceeding my target times with ease. So he gave me a test set to do in the pool on Thursday morning and said if I nail that, he thinks I should go…I’m in good shape and it’s a home race etc, so it would be a shame not too be there.
‘So I nailed the swim test set and the decision was made!’
Picture of Schoeman in action during last year’s Olympic test event courtesy of Wagner Araujo/ITU ::