This weekend sees the beginning of a whole new chapter for Commonwealth Games-bound Wian Sullwald when he competes in Sunday’s World Cup triathlon race in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
It’s the first time he’ll be competing since surviving a farm attack in December last year. Sullwald, one of three men’s triathletes in Team SA, makes no secret that his whole perception about racing and the way he thinks about life in general has changed.
He feels he was given a second chance in life and wants to make the most of it. It’s all about having no regrets.
Lindsey Parry, his coach at the Tuks High Performance Centre (and also the Team SA triathlon coach at Gold Coast), is not one to make bold predictions, but has a good feeling about Sunday’s race.
‘Wian has got a very different and calmer lookout when it comes to competing. Due to the attack, we had to change his training quite significantly because his hand was quite badly damaged. It meant he couldn’t swim as much as normal. The positive is that it gave us an opportunity to build an enormous “engine” on the bike and run.
‘He’s now stronger than he has ever been in those two disciplines. Obviously, there’s still a bit of work to be done on his swim, but he’s getting stronger each day.
‘It’s exciting to see how he has grown in confidence over the last few weeks. He has even got a bit of the old swagger back and it’s almost as if he’s expecting to do well.
‘Wian is putting a lot of pressure on himself to do well at the Commonwealth Games. As his coach, I just want to see him put the three disciplines well together during the race. If he does, there’s no reason why he can’t race for one of the top spots in New Plymouth and the Games.’
As for the Tuks/HPC athlete’s goals for the rest of the season, Parry said he would be satisfied if Sullwald can convert last year’s two top-10 finishes in the World Series events to top-five placings and his top-15 finishes to finishing in the top 10.
‘What I’m looking for is for Wian to become more consistent when he races. If he does, there’s no reason why he couldn’t rank in the World Series top 10.’
Photo: Reg Caldecott