PMB’s multi-sport athlete proves her mettle

2016-11-30 06:01
PHOTO: Kevin Sawyer Jeep Team’s Mikaela Jonsson won a silver medal at the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Australia.

PHOTO: Kevin Sawyer Jeep Team’s Mikaela Jonsson won a silver medal at the ITU World Triathlon Championships in Australia.

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JEEP Team athlete, Pietermaritzburg and KZN multi-sport star, Mikaela Jonsson (18) proved her mettle by getting a well-earned silver medal at the 2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships (U19) on 20 November in Australia.

Located in the heart of Australia’s High County, and starting at an altitude of 1100m with Australia’s highest peak, Mount Kosciusko as the backdrop, Jonsson’s Junior U19 race consisted of a 500m swim in the cold 16-20°C Lake Crackenback, a 12km MTB, which was two six- kilometre laps comprising about 80% grippy, flowing single track, rocky paths, bridges, rock gardens and creek crossings; and a 3.3km trail run, which was a technically-challenging course with energy-sapping short, punchy climbs and descents with creek crossings, a river run, a suspension bridge, obstacles, rock scrambles and some true off road terrain.

“I’m really happy because I left it all out there. Came out the swim third, onto the bike second. Unfortunately, I got a hectic chain suck just as I was catching the leading girl on the bike so lost a lot of time sorting it out. Went onto the run like a mad woman and just couldn’t catch her after closing the gap a lot on the run. But that’s racing. Standing on that podium was incredible.”

This is Mikaela’s final junior year and U19 athlete, and she made the most it conquering the high altitude and rugged terrain in an impressive time of 1:14:17, a minute behind Australian Laura May. who claimed the world champion title in a time of 1:13:20.

Mikaela, who placed fourth in the championships in 2014, skipped 2015 due to clashes with her matric studies and set her sights on the 2016 World Championships with a gruelling six-day-week training schedule.

Undeterred by a lack of funding to compete in the event, she turned to a crowd-funding platform to achieve her goal.

“Unfortunately, no support is given by our national federation and all travel, accommodation and team kit costs have to be covered by the athletes, hence my fund-raising efforts to go after my goal.”

It has been an epic year for the determined Jeep Team athlete, with Mikaela winning her first Olympic Distance Triathlon at the Tinman Tri-Series in Durban in July.

“Going forward I hope to be able to race around the globe doing what I love while representing my country - swimming, cycling, running, and of course capturing moments through my camera lens. My ultimate goal is to compete at the Olympic Games one day,” she said. - Supplied.

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