By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s best placed finishers at the weekend’s World Triathlon Series at Gold Coast, Australia had mixed opinions on their form ahead of the home leg of the series in Cape Town later this month.
On a weekend which saw Richard Murray crash out of contention with a broken collarbone on the bike and Sanders failing to finish due to ill health, Henri Schoeman was top SA finisher with 12th spot and Mari Rabie took 16th in the women’s race.
Schoeman told Road to Rio 2016: ‘Since my training and running has been coming together over the past couple of weeks, I was confident of a good result in Gold Coast.
‘The race was a good test for Rio in some ways. The heat was a factor, just like it will be in Rio, and there were some big players racing making it a highly competitive race.
‘The bike course was also not “easy”. A good swim set up a good position on the bike but I wasn’t feeling comfortable on the bike and I lost some time around a few of the corners which made me use more energy than I should’ve.
‘I’m pleased with my run and the way I finished. I’m not firing on all cylinders yet but already a big improvement from Abu Dhabi. I’m still lacking some run form, which excites me to get that sorted out for the next few races! I’ll now race Cape Town and Yokohama as my next two events.’
On to Rabie and she has mixed feelings despite the fact that she continues to show improvement after a serious heart problem two years ago as she bids for a place at the Rio Olympics.
‘It wasn’t the best day for me so how far have I come if 16th is a bad day?’ she told Road to Rio 2016.
‘I was absolutely hammered at the first buoy and at the back of the second pack after lap one – I then tried to swim up to pack one, but was off by 12sec and stuck in the middle of two packs. I’m not sure if I carried some fatigue over from New Plymouth [New Zealand, where she finished fourth last week].
‘On the bike there was a pack of 20-odd off front and I was stuck in another pack of high 20’s. So it was really a confident booster to run most of the first pack down from 1min down and outrun some decent runners.
‘So not happy with the result, but a good learning experience and some solid Olympic points.’
Picture of Rabie, left in picture, courtesy of Delly Carr/ITU