South African’s Erhard Wolfaardt and Carlyn Fischer became the first triathlon gold medallists in All Africa Games history, as the sport made its debut to a thrilled crowed in Maputo, Mozambique today.
The All Africa Games is a major continental multi-sport event, officially recognised by the International Olympic Committee, held every four years and this year was the first with triathlon officially on the programme.
In beautiful sunny weather in Maputo, on the opening competition day of the 10th All Africa Games, spectators and supporters from many national teams, National Olympic Committees and sport ministries turned out to see the historic moment. ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado was also in attendance, as the event showed a bright future for triathlon in Africa.
In the men’s race, two-time African champion Wolfaardt and current African Under23 champion Abrahm Louw broke into the lead early on the bike, then maintained and built on it coming into T2. They both came into transition together, but Wolfaardt pulled away slightly after Louw served a 15-second penalty in transition and managed to hold that until the end to claim the inaugural All Africa Games men’s gold medal. Louw, who finished fifth in last year’s Singapore Youth Olympic Games and is having an excellent debut elite season, claimed silver. South African junior Wian Sullwald, who finished eighth in last year’s Youth Olympic Games, finished strongly to claim the bronze medal.
But the diversity of entrants in the men’s race shone through, with seven different countries represented in the first eight finishers.
In the women’s race, South Africa’s Carlyn Fischer led from start to finish to claim the second gold medal for South Africa. Her compatriot Lauren Dance (RSA) was in second place up until the run, but was overtaken by Andrea Steyn (RSA) and Fabienne Aline St Louis from Maritius in the run. Steyn, a former African champion, claimed silver and St Louis ran into bronze.
Overall the event exceeded expectations, the African Triathlon Union completed an excellent job and there was plenty of interest from national federations for future development, all demonstrating a strong future for triathlon in Africa.
The first All Africa Games were in 1965 in Brazzaville, Congo and the 2011 edition includes 20 different sports. Triathlon was one of the first events on the programme, the Games now continue until September 19.
|Results: Elite Women|
|3.||Fabienne St Louis||MRI||01:07:29|