Namibia: Du Plooy Wins Gold At Virtual Racing 7

Divan du Plooy gave a superb performance to win his age group and come ninth overall at the seventh leg of Ironman's Virtual Racing series over the weekend.

Du Plooy, who had previously come third on two occasions, won the men's 18-24 year age group for the first time in impressive style, finishing nearly three minutes ahead of his closest rival.

He finished first out of 251 athletes in his age group, while he finished ninth overall out of 11 778 male athletes who participated from all over the world.

Du Plooy completed the sprint duathlon in a time of 46 minutes 18 seconds to finish well ahead of Damian Sieczkowski of Poland who followed in 49:06, while Denis Vasilyev of Latvia came third in 49:50.

Du Plooy's split times were 4:19 for the 1,5km run, 26:14 for the 20km cycle and 15:45 for the 5km run, which was more than a minute and a half faster than his previous attempt over the same distance.

Four weeks ago, Du Plooy posted a time of 47:54 for the third leg of the series which was held over the same distances, with split times of 4:21 for the 1,5km run; 27:33 for the 20km cycle; and 16:00 for the 5km run. On that occasion he came third in his age group and 45th overall.

Divan's father and coach Pierre du Plooy, who is also the president of the Namibia Triathlon Federation was thrilled with his performance.

"Divan did exceptionally well and I'm very happy with his form. He has been training very hard and with the lockdown now over he's been training on a different route, especially with a view to building up for the World Championships in September. We worked extra hard on his cycling, while we are fine-tuning his power on the cadence," he said.

"He's still stuck in Jeffreys Bay, but I coach him via video and he then gives me feedback, while I can also see from the photos how he is doing and advise him on his style," he added.

Du Plooy senior said that Divan could still go faster, as they step up preparations for the World Championships.

"His personal best time over 5km is 14:48 so we are building up to that and when we go to the World Champs I want him to be able to consistently run sub-15 minutes times. With the lockdown he hasn't been able to train on the track for a long time, but hopefully he will be allowed to go back by next month," he said.

Another Namibian athlete who excelled over the weekend was the 17-year-old Corilly Yates.

Competing in the women's 18-24 year category she came fifth out of 112 athletes in a time of 1:04:22, while she came 219th overall out of 5 244 female athletes.

Her time was just over two minutes behind the age group winner Charlotte Papillon of France (1:02:21), while her split times were 5:57 for the 1,5km run; 32:47 for the 20km cycle; and 25:38 for the 5km run.

That was a marked improvement of more than seven minutes on her time of 1:11:57 four weeks ago when she came 51st in her age group at the third leg of the series.

Du Plooy senior who also coaches her, said she had previously struggled with a shin injury, but was now getting back to her best.

"I've been coaching her for four months now, but the first month was mainly rehabilitation after she came back from an injury," he said.

"She's a fighter, she's unbelievably committed and an awesome find for Namibian triathlon. Her mental strength is phenomenal and I'm extremely excited about her," he added.

A total of 11 male and 15 female athletes competed in Virtual Racing 7 over the weekend.

Amongst the men Max Schaefer came sixth in the 50-54 year age group and 59th overall in a time of 50:43; and JG van der Westhuizen came 17th in the 18-24 year age group and 556th overall in 56:10.

Amongst the women, Mimi Hough came 55th in the 30-34 year age group and 333rd overall in 1:06:47, while Hedwig Markus came 58th in the same age group and 346th overall in 1:07:02.

The eighth leg of the series will take place this coming weekend over the longer distances of a 3km run, a 40km cycle and a 10km run. Athletes who would like to enter can contact Du Plooy at [email protected] to register.

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