Ray Bande in NYANGA
ZIMBABWE’S representatives in this years’ edition of the Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup women and mens’ elite races – Laurelle Brown and Matthew Denslow – gave a good account of themselves as they settled for second and seventh position, respectively.
The prestigious annual event was held yesterday at the iconic Troutbeck Resort in Nyanga.
It was never going to be a stroll in the park for Denslow given his transition from the junior to senior this year, let alone competing with some of the world’s best in the trade.
In an interview soon after the race, Brown said: “Look, it was hard but I expected it given the transition from the junior level. I competed with the best athletes in the world and the experience was worthwhile.
“I knew this would be difficult but I am happy with the effort i made. I managed to stay composed and keeping a clear mind, it’s very easy to lose you head when you go behind while competing before your home crowd.”
Denslow, who was making a return to Troutbeck for the first time since winning a gold medal in the junior men’s race of the inaugural Bonaqua ATU Junior African Cup which he ran concurrently with the 2019 Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup last year, crossed the finishing line in one hour 10 minutes and seven seconds.
The Troutbeck meet was 20 year-old Denslow’s only second race as an elite triathlete after his debut at the 2020 Maselspoort ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup in Bloemfontein, South Africa, early this month, finishing 22nd out of 27 competitors.
The young Zimbabwean, who is ranked fourth on the International Triathlon Union (ITU)’s junior continental rankings, was one of the 10 triathletes who battled it out for top honours in the elite men’s race.
For Brown, it was an impressive show after lagging behind in the swimming contest only to cover up in sprint and biking.
She crossed the line in one hour, 18 minutes, 24 seconds.
Brown last competed in 2013, before she took a break to pursue her studies in the UK.
She returned to competition last year and went on to win a silver medal at the African Games in Morocco.
Brown said: “I really did not expect it. It was a bonus for me making this podium finish. That Russian lady was flying and we all wanted to match that. But i am generally happy with my performance as I look forward to a few more races this year.”
Swiss Andrea Salvisberg scooped pole position in the mens’ elite race while Dmitry Polyanskiy of Russia weighed in second position.
South Africa’ Jammie Riddle came third.
In the ladies elite race, Russian Anastasia Abrosimova snatched the gold medal while Tunisian Ons Lijili came third.
In this years’ Bonaqua Troutbeck ATU Sprint Triathlon African Cup, neighbours South Africa have the highest number of participants, with the quartet of Cameron MacNair, Riddle, Matthew Gree and Ben De La Porte.
The other participants in the men’s elite race were Timothee Hugnin from Mauritius, Russian Dmitry Polyanskiy, Danilo Pimentel from Brazil, Syria’s Mohamad Alsabbagh and Switzerland’s Andrea Salvisberg.