BY MAGRETH RUZVIDZO/FREEMAN MAKOPA
ZIMBABWE triathlon coach Pamela Fulton has commended the performance of the team after they scooped five medals at the African Triathlon Championships in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, at the weekend.
The championships, which saw a number of young athletes shine, had many African giants represented, including Cameroon, Gambia, Mauritius and South Africa.
“I am proud of the way our athletes coped with the conditions in Sharm El Sheikh. The weather was hot, the water conditions were rough and the winds were strong,” Fulton said.
“Our athletes excelled and brought home five medals. Our team is young, so I look forward to watching it rise through the ranks over the years.”
Anje van As and Matipa Mawere bagged gold medals in their youth girls and boys Under-15, respectively.
Emma Lidsba secured a silver medal in the youth girls Under-15, while Joshua Jacobs and Makanaka Mawere scooped bronze in the junior women Under-19.
The competitions started with individual races on Saturday, culminating in relay events on Sunday.
For the mixed team relay event, Makanaka, Matipa, Lidsba and Jacobs represented Zimbabwe. Although they exceeded expectations, they lost.
“In the mixed teams relay, the Zimbabwean team consisted of young athletes, so it was a special opportunity for them to compete with the best in Africa and this included racing with athletes who had just qualified to compete in the Olympics. Zimbabwe raced to the best of their ability as always and embraced the experience and the opportunity,” Fulton said, adding that she was overwhelmed by the performance displayed by the team.
“The majority of our youths had not travelled to a triathlon tour before so for them to win two gold, silver and two bronze was fantastic. It shows our youths have a bright future,” she said.
“As an underdog, Makanaka won bronze in the Under-19 ladies category, putting her on the map and I am looking forward to watch her progress.”
“The athletes will now enjoy a well-deserved rest before the 2021/22 starts once again in September.”
Triathlon Zimbabwe spokesperson Carol Pakenham said: “What an absolutely fantastic morning at the 2021 Africa Championships in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Huge congratulations to Team Zimbabwe on an outstanding performance by each and every athlete.
“Some great racing under extremely difficult conditions with searing heat and windy conditions. You have done your country very proud guys.”
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