HomeSportTriathlon thriller in Nyanga…promoting sports tourism

Triathlon thriller in Nyanga…promoting sports tourism

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By Sheldon Hakata

SPORT is an essential part of our lives and a foundation to positive living.

It assists in developing confidence and completing a personality while keeping our bodies fit and increasing mental sharpness.

Sport helps us learn to tackle problems in life and how to react to real-life situations and it also increases efficiency and energy levels in people while relaxing the mind as well as relieving stress and tension. 

The activities keep a person motivated and build a friendly competitive environment for growth. Sport stresses on team-building activities as teams are involved in triathlon.

Indeed, sport is a crucial part of everyone’s life which helps participants and fans to learn various virtues like team-work, tolerance, co-ordination while helping keep the body strong and healthy.

In this case, triathlon attributes endurance. 

The contest consists swimming, biking and running — almost always done in that order.

The sport evolved out of a 1970s American enthusiasm for long-distance running and fitness training.

It was introduced as an Olympic sport at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. 

The sport debuted in San Diego, California, on September 25 1974 and the event saw 46 competitors swim 460 metres, run 9,6 km and bike 8km. 

However, triathlons may vary in length but all begin with swimming, followed by cycling and ending with a run.

Planners continue to lengthen unofficial races as participants become more ambitious to test the limits of human endurance.

Quite a number of disciplines are competed for cross triathlon and duathlon, thus the use of off-road mountain bike and trails. 

Triathlon Zimbabwe was launched in 1985. 

The Zimbabwe Triathlon Association is also founded under Zimbabwe Sports and Recreational Commission Act of 1980.

Zimbabwe became a founder member of the Africa Triathlon since inception in 1993 and Zimbabwe Olympic Council member since Olympic inclusion in 1995.

At the Inaugural Olympic triathlon event, Zimbabwe’s Olympic representative at Sydney 2000 was none other than Mark Marabini.

Zimbabwe’s Marabini won the Old Mutual Triathlon in Swakopmund, Namibia, for the fourth time in a row.

There is a bizarre incident that once occurred during one of the races in Namibia during the former Zimbabwe international Marabini era: According to eyewitnesses, Marabini had already taken the lead on the cycling leg when a car pulled up ahead of him and the occupants got out and started throwing stones at him. 

Luckily Marabini was not seriously injured and escaped with a bruised shoulder — although rattled, he managed to finish the race. 

Namibia’s Bombosch soon took the lead on the cycling leg, but Marabini, who was two minutes behind the leaders after the swimming leg, gradually narrowed the gap. 

By the time they reached the change-over for the running leg, Marabini was leading by more than a minute from Bombosch.

By this time, Bombosch was tiring rapidly and was soon overtaken by another Zimbabwean, James Walker, who eventually came second. 

There was no holding Marabini down who also posted the fastest running leg to win in 3:25:47; Walker came second in 3:33:24; while Bombosch managed to hang in and clinch third place at 3:49:06.

Zimbabweans also dominated the women’s race.

Despite this unfortunate incident which will certainly not enhance Namibia’s image among its neighbouring countries, the rest of the race went off smoothly.

Another Zimbabwean, Grant Stewart, was first out of the water in 19 minutes and 47 seconds with Namibia’s Tokkie behind him.

Following are Zimbabwe’s Olympic representatives:

  • Beijing 2008 and in London; Chris Felgate
  • Youth Olympic representation 2010 in Singapore; Boyd Littleford and Andrea Brown
  • Serena Rendell and Drew Williams represented Zimbabwe at the 2014 Nanjing China
  • Zimbabwe earned medals at both of the African Games in Maputo and Rabat in 2011 and 2019 respectively
  • At the Africa Youth Games in Gaborone 2014 and Algiers 2018 editions, Zimbabwean representatives earned medals
  • Zimbabwe was awarded National Sports federation of the year 2013 and 2018 Good Governance Award 2016 and 2019 by ANSA.

The longest standing event of this kind on the African continent, the Bonaqua Triathlon Cup, will be held at the Troutbeck Resort, a lakeside location in the picturesque Nyanga Mountains.  

At least 25 athletes have already confirmed their participation for the annual event at the event and more are expected to confirm attendance over the course of the next 30 days.

Troutbeck Resort has been there since day one. 

In 2007, there were four similar events on the African continent and now, in 2023, there are 15 countries participating — the growth across the continent has been exponential.

Africa Continental Coordinator and Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Organiser Rick Fulton told Patriot Sports: “This year marks the sixth anniversary for Bonaqua Still Water as the official title sponsor, although Coca-Cola has been involved for nine years with the Schweppes Water.” 

Bonaqua is bottled by Schweppes Zimbabwe limited on behalf of Coca-Cola.

“One of the key reasons that inspires us to continue with the partnership is the professionalism exhibited by the Triathlon Association of Zimbabwe and the organisers of this jam-packed action-filled sport Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup multi-sports festival,” said Coca-Cola Franchise, marketing portfolio activations manager Zimbabwe Faith Nehanda.

Added Fulton: “This promises to be a thriller with stiff competition following an increase in the number of participants. 

“With an international field consisting of elite men and women expected to register to compete in the Bonaqua African Triathlon Union (ATU), which would make this year’s edition one of the biggest entries for the cup, athletes will converge from Africa and outside the continent.

“The event has been of great value to the country and the athletes. Triathlon has been a good model when it comes to promoting sports tourism for our beautiful country, Zimbabwe.

“As a matter of interest, 10 men, and six women on the start list of the Olympic Triathlon race at the Tokyo Olympic Games had all participated at Troutbeck before. 

“That says a lot about the continental event, the location and most of all the hosting country, Zimbabwe.”

The Bonaqua Troutbeck African Triathlon Union (ATU) is sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union (ITU). 

It is a world ranking points for elite athletes within the ITU ranking system. 

This means points scored by Elite athletes will ultimately become Olympic Ranking Qualification points for Olympics 2024.

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