Namibia: Du Plooy Shines At African Champs

NAMIBIAN triathlon champion Divan du Plooy was in great form to win a bronze medal in the u23 men's category at the African Triathlon Championships in Sham El Shrek, Egypt on Saturday.

Du Plooy, who is still only 19 years old, completed the triathlon that consisted of a 1,5km swim, a 40km cycle and a 10km run in an overall time of one hour 58 minutes 28 seconds to claim the bronze medal behind two South Africans.

Jamie Riddle was a comfortable winner, claiming the gold medal in 1:49:13, while Christiaan Stroebel came second in 1:56:14.

The senior men's title was won by another South African, Henri Schoeman in 1:48:57, followed by compatriot Nicholas Quenet (1:54:33) and Badr Siwane of Morocco (1:56:18).

Du Plooy's bronze medal was his second podium finish in Egypt over the past week, after he won a silver medal in an Africa Cup race at the same venue a week ago. He expressed satisfaction with the conditions, as well as his performances.

"The race went well, travelling here was a bit of a fuss, which always is a problem coming to north Africa, but nonetheless, it was a great venue, the hotel we stayed in was very good, the food was good and the people were very nice," he said.

"Over the two weeks that I was here, I reached the podium on both weekends, the first week taking a silver and the second week taking a bronze, so I'm happy with my performances," he added.

Du Plooy said it was very hot.

"It's very hot here, we started the race at 05h30 in the morning when it was already 30 degrees Celsius and when we finished it was around 38 degrees Celsius with the wind also starting to pick up."

"The swim didn't go as planned on the first week, but I made up for it on the cycle and then on the run I overtook many people and thats how I managed to finish second.

Ät the African Champs, my swim was much better and then on the cycling I pushed it as hard as I could, mostly dragging some of these north African triathletes behind my wheel, and then on the run, I just ran as fast as I could," he added.

Du Plooy will now take a short break before starting to prepare for some major events coming up. They include the Namibia National Duathlon Championships next month, a triathlon event in Morocco in August, the Troutbeck Triathlon in Zimbabwe in September, and the Africa Duathlon Championships in Namibia in October.

Du Plooy said he expected to do well in the duathlon, although his triathlon is improving.

"Running is my strong suit, so the duathlon suits me better at the moment, but my swimming is getting better, so one day I'll come out with a fine performance on the swim.

He also thanked several institutions and people who assisted him to compete in Egypt.

"I want to thank the Africa Triathlon Union, the Namibia Triathlon Union and the Namibia National Olympic Committee for helping me to get here. I also want to thank Joan Smit of the Namibia Olympic Committee and the Egyptian Triathlon Federation for organising this great event - it was very well organised and everything was done on time," he said.

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