Reigning world champ to compete in Bay Ironman

2017-03-08 13:04
Women’s Ironman World Champion, Daniela Ryf, will be competing in the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay on April 2.        Photo: GETTY IMAGES FOR IRONMAN

Women’s Ironman World Champion, Daniela Ryf, will be competing in the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay on April 2. Photo: GETTY IMAGES FOR IRONMAN

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TWO-TIME reigning women’s Ironman World Champion, Daniela Ryf, has confirmed that she will be on the starting line of the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, on April 2.

The Swiss maestro has had a remarkable rise in long distance triathlon and was tipped to reach the top early on in her long- distance career.

Today, Ryf is the dominant force in women’s long distance triathlon and has become arguably the most complete athlete in the sport since the great Chrissie Wellington. She will become the third women’s Ironman World Champion to race in South Africa following Wellington and her compatriot, Natascha Badmann.

Swiss athletes have enjoyed success in South Africa over the years and none more so than Badmann who won Ironman South Africa four times with her final win coming at the age of 45 in 2012. Included in the Swiss contingent to have tasted success in South Africa is Ronnie Schildknecht (2013) and Simone Braendli (2014).

Despite the past success of her compatriots, the World Champion is looking to make her own mark.

“I am looking forward to doing the race and making my own experiences on the course. I heard it is challenging, which I like. The cycling will be hard, which is probably why most Swiss competitors liked it so far,” said Ryf.

With a record that includes the 2015 and 2016 Ironman World Championship as well as the 2014 and 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Ryf is the clear favourite whenever she races. Her performance at the 2016 Ironman World Championship was nothing short of incredible, leading from the front, holding off a Mirinda Carfrae charge and breaking the course record in the process. Being used to this level of performance, she does not allow the favourite tag weigh her down – instead, using it to push her forward.

“(The pressure of racing as the favourite) hasn’t really changed since last year. I don’t care about the outside pressure anymore, as I have proved myself. I race for myself, that’s why I enjoy it,” added Ryf.

In 2011, Chrissie Wellington treated SA triathlon fans to a rare display of power and dominance when she broke the then Ironman women’s world record in Port Elizabeth. She still has fond memories of her time in the country and so too does Ryf, who raced her first World Cup in South Africa in 2006.

Eleven years on, she returns a World Champion and after seeing her dominate Kona in 2016, South African triathlon fans can once again look forward to seeing the world’s best in their own back yard.

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