Nearly 1 000 athletes will take to the water on Sunday, starting with a 3.8km swim, 180.2km bike and 42.2km run. All to conquer the African Ironman crown.
But the fans of the Ironman Africa Championships will be disappointed to learn that one of the main stars of this year’s competition has had to withdraw due to injury.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist from the United Kingdom, Alistair Brownlee, was on the starting list, but the men’s line-up remains full of talent.
Excitement ahead of the Ironman Africa Championship
Director of Ironman Africa, Keith Bowler, says local fans are happy with reverting to the original venue.
“Preparations are so well in place. We are happy to be back here at Hobbie Beach, previous we had to use king’s beach it’s good to be back at the original place where it started 18 years ago at Hobbie Beach. It’s really exciting to be back.”
The infamous wind is always a discussion point and this year is no different. It is predicted to be a factor later on Sunday. Professional triathlete, Laura Philip, predicts another good race.
“It’s unfortunate that Karl is not here this year we had a good battle last year. We will be strong, there are a lot of other guys who are strong and willing to work hard. There are a lot of good guys who did well previously.”
Defending champion, Kyle Buckingham, is not racing this year. But, Bradley Weiss and Matt Trautman are back, aiming to keep the title under the South African flag.
Weiss explains, “I managed to come second last year, so I hope to do better this year and get the top sport we had bad weather conditions last time, I hope it will be better now and I am looking for the top spot in the podium this year.”
The African Championships offers 65 age group qualifying slots for men at the IRONMAN world champs in Nice, France this coming September. 75 qualifying women will be headed to Kona, Hawai’i, in October. -Reporting by Yolanda Kambile
Original Story by www.sabcnews.com