WITH their new season underway, Triathlon Zimbabwe president Ross O’Donoghue says they are looking at increasing the numbers through various initiatives.
Triathlon Zimbabwe had their season opener last weekend at Mount Pleasant Pool with triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon events on offer.
O’Donoghue expressed satisfaction with the turnout for their first event of the year.
“I would say that the primary focus for Triathlon Zimbabwe this year is to open our sport to more people. We want more people to take part in our events, we want more people to be introduced to the world of triathlon.
“Being a fairly specialised sport, having to have a bicycle to be able to compete, we have opened new events in duathlon, and the run swim run (aquathlon) event. We are really hoping to get more people to attend, especially our juniors.
“Our national coaching programme is excellent, we have got some excellent coaches and through initiatives at the schools and triathlon events in schools we are hoping to grow triathlon,” said O’Donoghue.
The national association is looking at spreading their events to other venues around Harare.
“What we are hoping to do at Mount Pleasant this year, is we are hoping to have some new venues around Harare as well.
“We just want people to come out and enjoy…And then if people are talented we want to assist where we can to let them achieve what they potentially can do and then that leads to Troutbeck where some of our top athletes will be racing at Troutbeck,” said O’Donoghue.
The Bonaqua Africa Triathlon Cup Troutbeck remains the major competition on the local scene attracting elite athletes from different countries in the world.
Apart from the local events, Triathlon Zimbabwe have some of their juniors bracing for the Africa Championships in Egypt next month. They will be represented by Callum Smith and Rohnan Nicholson.
“So we have actually got high expectations. I had a meeting at SRC the other day and SRC said to all sports we are tired of just participating, we want medals and that’s exactly what we want.
“With our athletes at these (local) events we want participation, we want people to come and enjoy. When our athletes go overseas to race internationally we want medals.
“And I think this year with Callum and with Rohnan, I think we have got a very good chance of bringing back a medal from the Africa Championships with those two boys.
“Unfortunately we don’t have any girls going this year,” said O’Donoghue.
Anje Van As, who has previously done well at the continental showpiece and won medals, will not compete at the forthcoming continental showpiece.
She participated in the season opener but said she is going to take a break due to school commitments.
“It was really fun. I actually just enjoyed racing again, being back in the sport because it’s been a while since I last raced. I think the last race I did was Troutbeck, so doing a proper triathlon is quite nice.
“I think towards getting closer to O-levels I might just keep it quiet for sport. I am going to mostly be focusing on academics to make sure I pass all my IGCSE exams and then possibly afterwards during the break, and towards the end of the year I will start picking up my training again to start training and racing again,” said Van As