Triathlon is for everyone

2017-01-18 06:01
Zolile Mhlahlo recorded the fastest overall run time at the 2016 Standard Bank 5150 Nelson Mandela Bay. Photo: CRAIG MULLER

Zolile Mhlahlo recorded the fastest overall run time at the 2016 Standard Bank 5150 Nelson Mandela Bay. Photo: CRAIG MULLER

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THE Siyaphambili Triathlon Participation Programme has helped many athletes from previously disadvantaged backgrounds get involved in triathlon.

In 2017, 25 athletes will be wearing the distinct yellow, black and white at the 10th anniversary edition of the Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 South Africa.

The programme has evolved over the years to adopt a policy of inclusivity over performance. Therefore, regardless of an athlete’s sporting background or age, they will be considered to continue on the programme for as long as they show the desire to participate.

Many athletes on the programme come from a single-discipline background and have to be taught to swim or cycle from scratch. This is where the programme really benefits athletes as they receive expert coaching and guidance on an individual basis while still being able to train as part of a group.

One of the great stories from 2016 was 41 year-old Zolile Mhlahlo, an athlete who did his first sea swim at the 2016 Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 South Africa. He was one of the last athletes to finish the swim in East London but still managed to be one of the top Siyaphambili finishers making up time on the run. He did the same at the Standard Bank 5150 Nelson Mandela Bay where he recorded the fastest run of the day after a big deficit on the swim.

“The Siyaphambili Triathlon Participation Programme shows that the sport of triathlon is for everyone regardless of background, age or ability. It is about taking part in something you enjoy with a group of like-minded individuals,” said Michael Flanagan, Communications Specialist for Ironman.

“Through the programme we hope to see more stories like Zolile’s starting in East London with the 2017 Standard Bank Ironman 70.3 South Africa.”

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