With the prize money at tri races in RSA these days, almost non existent for the handful of pro elites that base themselves locally, its good to know that B-Active still put on events like the Mandela TRI that offers some decent prize money on the day. A prize pool of over R120 000 will be up for grabs next weekend with the winners taking away a cool R22 000 each. When one considers that most events nowdays pay almost next to nothing for the winners crossing the line, the Mandela TRI is easily SA’s most lucrative Olympic Distance Triathlon Event.
A host of the countries home based pro elites will be in action. With Olympic Bronze Medal winner Henri Schoeman not defending his title (thankfully for his competitors) a new men’s champion will be crowned next Saturday out at Midmar Dam. Similarly, the ladies title is also up for grabs with defending champion Andrea Steyn out of action which now opens the way for some of the ladies to stake their claim to the 2017 title and more importantly, the huge 1st prize cash cheque on offer.
The World Championships take place in Rotterdam in September so a lot of the Elite, u23 and Junior triathletes will be using this event to fine tune their training as they head over to Europe to go and race against the worlds best triathletes.
On the men’s side, U23 Elite Keegan Cooke heads into the race as the pre race favourite based on current entries. He will be closely followed by Dylan Pivo, Nathan Le Roux, Pieter Jan Vd Merwe and a whole host of the local KZN boys who are spear headed by Donovan Van Gelder, Darryn Purtell, Haig Gibb and Brad Venter. Being a draft legal race, these local boys can cycle and will definitely be on the charge to close down the faster swimmers. Its going to take a good one or two strong swim-bike athletes to stay away from this crew over the tough 4 lap 40km cycle.
More than likely it will come down to the 10km run with the fastest athlete looking to make the break on the tough uphill off-road section that athletes have to navigate as they head up to the main road en route to the finish at the Mandela Capture site. Whatever happens, this race will be a humdinger. We are expecting a few late entries so don’t be surprised if one or two more elite pro’s are thrown into the mix to shake up a race that will if anything, be super fast
On the ladies side, Olympic hopeful Carlyn Fischer will be wanting to win this one for sure. Having not been able to race last weekend due to no pro race being on offer, she is chomping at the bit to get her hands on that 22k first prize. Fischer has a vast array of international experience having trained with some of the worlds top Triatletes recently, most notably Ashley Gentle, winner of the last WTS race in Montreal.
She will however be pushed hard by the strong swim-biker, Cindy Schwulst who hails from slummies and is determined to get onto that podium. Another dark horse could be Maude-Elaine Le Roux who is a former SA Jnr Triathlon Champion. If she lines up with her head in the game, she could launch a serious push to oust these 2 ladies and take the win for herself. Another local home favourite Teneal Featherby knows the race course well and if she can have a fast swim, she will be in the mix over the last 2km or so as the ladies wind down their 10km run leg. Samantha Summerscales is an outsider who will also be hoping to top the podium at prize-giving
Whatever goes down, next Saturdays race will be hot and fast. Athletes have been training for this event for the past few weeks and there is no doubt that the prestige of winning the Mandela Triathlon and walking away with the spoils will push these athletes to great heights.
For more info on the event, visit www.bactive.com