•Stars who shone at SA champs now aiming for podium in Portugal
Veterans, youngsters help balance team
EAST London athletes arrived home loaded with medals after the biathle, triathle and laser run champs in Limpopo last month.
The team took home 15 medals, as well as a number of entries into the world championships in various disciplines.
Worth mentioning are the five gold medallists including Ben Heuer, Daniel Breetzke and Nathan Gallacher for biathle, and Rhys Poovan and Tara Schwulst for laser run.
The quite new sport of laser running combines sequences of laser pistol shooting and running, challenging athletes’ stamina, agility and focus.
GO! & Express interviewed two athletes from East London who have been selected to compete in all three world championship events later this year.
Beaconhurst High School pupil Tiffany Scott, 16, was overjoyed at her selection for the championships, having never been selected for the South African team before.
“I was in tears when I discovered I had made it for all three.
“Words cannot describe how I felt, especially for the triathle,” she said.
The enthusiastic young athlete said her trip to Portugal in September would be her first plane trip.
She began swimming four years ago with the Aquanova Aquatics Club and has only recently taken up triathle and laser run.
“I can’t wait to go.
“I’m more excited than nervous. Just having the opportunity to represent my country is really amazing.
“It is a goal achieved already.
“I hope to see some sights while I’m away, but I’m more excited to be in the competition atmosphere.
“It is going to be a much tougher competition. It will be awesome to meet so many new people from around the world and brush up on my Portuguese,” said the excited teen.
Scott’s swimming coach Lyn Shone said: “Tiffany has a good mind. She is determined and goalorientated, with a good stamina to last the distance.
“Five of our swimmers from Aquanova made the team and it shows that all the hard work pays off.
“It will be a great learning experience for them.”
Scott needs to raise R25000 to go to Portugal for the laser run in September and another R40000 for the trip to Florida, USA, for biathle and triathle in October.
Her mother Nita, who is “over the moon with pride” is arranging a number of fundraising initiatives to assist her daughter.
She will be raffling a processed pig for R10 a ticket. Anyone who is able to sponsor Tiffany is encouraged to contact Nita on 071-492-0296.
Paul Elliott, 45, who achieved a silver medal in his last biathle world champs in 2011, is excited to once again be representing his country.
“It is an exciting and humbling experience to travel with such good athletes and some as young as 10 years old, who are focused and competitive.
“Being able to race with good athletes and test yourself and see a new country and experience a new culture is the best part for me,” said Elliott.
The athlete, who has been competing in biathle on an off for the past 17 years, recently began triathle and laser run.
He aims to achieve a podium finish in all three races, though the competition will be tough, he acknowledged.
Sammy Saunders, running coach for a number of athletes and also team manager at the South African Championships, described Elliott as “a strong runner and shooter with a never-give-up attitude that keeps him going”.