By Mark Etheridge
Olympic triathlete Kate Roberts will be at her third Games here in Brazil next month… and it’s a different kettle of fish this time round.
Reason being, that in Beijing 2008 and London four years ago, she was in a competitive role, chasing medals for her country.
On this occasion she’s going to be helping her countrymen and women try and get places on the podium.
In Rio, she’s part of the triathlon management coaching team along with Lindsey Parry (who was also in London four years ago).
Now filling a position of TSA and TUKS Junior Triathlon Academy Coach in Pretoria she told Road to Rio 2016 of the switch in roles.
‘With regards to the transition, I’m really enjoying my new role but do find it challenging. When I was an athlete heading to the Olympic Games, the only concern I had was making sure that I got the best out of my training sessions each day, that I got sufficient rest and limited any distractions.
‘Now my frame of mind is totally different and I have to reverse my mindset to make sure that I can do everything for the athletes, so that they do not have to worry about the distractions and are able to focus on the task at hand of delivering a good performance in Rio.
‘There is so much going on “behind the scenes” that a code manager has to deal with and I never realised this when I was an athlete. But at the same time I understand the athletes’ needs and I always do my very best to make sure that they get what is needed. Even if it means I may get to bed by midnight.
‘The key to being a successful athlete at the Games requires the athlete to be totally committed to their daily training, avoiding the distractions and passing on any admin issues to their code mangers to handle.
‘And the key for a code manager is to be able to handle all the admin regarding the athletes needs and keeping the athlete happy and in high spirits!’
It would appear that Team SA’s four triathletes – Richard Murray, Henri Schoeman, Mari Rabie and Gill Sanders – will be in the best possible hands as they go in search of glory for the rainbow nation.
Picture of Roberts in coaching action courtesy of Reg Caldecott