By Mark Etheridge
South Africa’s top schools triathletes will be vying for honours at the ISF World School Championships in Versailles, France next weekend.
The athletes were chosen on the basis of trials in Bloemfontein in March.
A total of 11 young athletes (six boys and five girls) will make the trip to Europe.
Age groups involved are 15-16 and 16-17 and the squad will be coached/managed by two-time Olympic triathlete Kate Roberts and Riana Robertson.
The action involves an individual race on Saturday and a team race on Sunday which will involve at 250-metre swim, 6.7 kilometre and 1.6km run.
‘We’ll decide the team based on results from the individual event as we can have two males and two females per team event for South Africa. The other athletes not chosen to represent South Africa will however be able to form a team with other countries who also have outstanding members but will unfortunately these won’t be eligible for overall placings,’ says Roberts.
‘It’s going to be a wonderful trip for the children and won’t just include racing. They’ll be staying in accommodation set up by the organisers and all athletes competing will be staying here, so his will create a almost “village-like” set-up like they do at a major games and will be wonderful for the children to mix with other nations and forge friendships with them.
‘The organisers have also planned a cultural evening for the children where they have to do a short talk, play or presentation regarding their country. This should all be good fun and very exciting.’
Some names that may already be familiar with SA sports fans are Jayme Sue Vermaas and Nathan le Roux who competed at the Youth Olympic Games in Beijing, China last year, while Madelaine le Roux and Nathan also competed at the African Youth Games in Botswana last year. And Port Elizabeth’s Jamie Riddle is the son of former provincial athlete and triathlete Alex Riddle.
The full team and competition distances is:
Girls 15/16 (distances 400m swim/10km cycle and 2.5km run)
Gizelde Strauss, Angelique Moller
Boys 15/16 (distances 400m swim/10km cycle and 2.5km run)
Jamie Riddle, Ben de la Porte, Stephan Kennealy
Girls 16/17 (distances 750m swim/20km cycle and 5km run)
Jayme Sue Vermaas, Madelaine le Roux, Mieke Koen
Boys 16/17 (distances 750m swim/20km cycle and 5km run)
Nathan le Roux, Dylan Kruger, Dylan Nortje
Coaches/managers: Kate Roberts, Riana Robertson
Picture of Madelaine le Roux by Wessel Oosthuizen/SASPA