Following a successful selection event on Sunday, Triathlon Zimbabwe national coach, Pamela Fulton, is pleased with the increased number of athletes for this season.
Over the last few years, the numbers have been stagnant.
But, there seems to be some positive changes for the 2020/2021 season with more athletes turning up for the competitions.
Fulton, a seasoned coach who has been involved in triathlon development in the country, said it was encouraging to see the numbers going upwards in the juniors and youth categories.
“For the last few years, I would say that we have had approximately 20 athletes between the ages of 13 to 19 in the whole of the country, which is very minimum in that whole junior’s category.
“So, this season we have got about 32 athletes that are competing to qualify for South Africa Championships.
“I am really excited by the development of our sport, that it is growing and, obviously is getting out there.
“People are beginning to hear about triathlon and, possibly, the fact that we have been able to start competing early has enabled athletes from other sports, which are unable to compete, to come and give our sport a go,” said Fulton.
Fulton is content with the boys Under-19 category, which she described as very competitive.
She said they still need to work on the girls side.
The Under-15s, as well as the Under-13s, also have had a good turn out and the challenge is now on retaining the numbers.
“Our ladies numbers are minimal, unfortunately,. We really want to build that,” she said.
“But, our Under-15 category, and the Under-13 category, those are really big.
“Our challenge now is, obviously, to keep these kids in the sport. They are about to go back to school where, obviously, they are going to start doing school, (and) sport.
“Our challenge is to continue keeping them in our sport, bring them back and to continue to love it and just driving our development programme, which I have been working on for quite a few years now.”
Some of the promising upcoming triathletes includeFOLLOWING Anje Van As, who was the Under-13 girls champion last season, and is looking at making her debut appearance at the South Africa Championships next year.
And that seems to have boosted her confidence and, on Sunday, she came first in the youth girls section (Under-13/Under-15).
“It just helps to know that you are at the top of your age group and that you can achieve very high expectations and that you know that you can win. “You need to have a specific amount of points to qualify for the South Africa Championships, so it’s quite important to win.
“I was supposed to go (for the South Africa Championships) but due to Covid-19 we couldn’t go this year.
“I just hope I do make the points to go to (next year’s) South Africa Championships,” said Van As.