16 EL contenders to represent SA in US
AN EXCITED group of 16 East London athletes have been selected to represent South Africa at the Biathle and Triathle World Championship in Sarasota, USA, on October 23.
Rodney Westgate, Paul Elloit, Teko Khetsi, Matthew Raath, Emily Raath, Kiara Herman, Amber Herman, Nathan Gallacher, Daniel Breetzke, Carter Preston and Ben Heuer finished within 10% of the winner’s time at the SA Champs and will race in green and gold as part of the SA team in the US.
Zachary Smith, Kara Batting, Rachel Webb, Sheree Brandt and Tiffany Scott were invited by the SA Modern Pentathlon Association and will compete in the invitational president’s team.
Coach of a number of the East London athletes, Sammy Saunders said: “This is a great opportunity for our local athletes to grow due to the fact they get exposed to international athletes and the way they do their preparations on race day.”
Saunders has high expectations of Heuer, Gallacher, Breetzke, Emily Raath, Westgate and Elliot at the world event.
GO! & Express caught up with some of the younger athletes from Stirling Primary School last week to hear what their expectations are for the competition.
Gallacher, who won gold in Guatemala in 2014, aims to achieve a top two position in this year’s event.
“The Egyptians were really close to me the last time and this will again be a tough competition,” Gallacher said.
Heuer, in Grade 2, who has never been beaten over his distance, said he is aiming for gold at his first international event.
New on this year’s biathle world champs calendar is the team event, where the top male and female athlete from each age division compete as a team, each completing half of the race distance.
Sometimes more than one team is entered from each country, but only one SA team will qualify for a medal, should more than one South African team be eligible for a medal.
Representing the SA team in the teams category are: Gallacher, Amber Herman, Kiara Herman, Rodney Westgate, Matthew Raath, Ben Heuer, Carter Preston and Teko Khetsi.
Preston, also in Grade 2, said: “I’m excited to make new friends and swap suits with people from different countries at the end of the race.”
Kiara and Amber Herman, in Grade 6 and 4 respectively, said: “We are really happy to be selected as part of the SA team. This will be our first time overseas and exploring a new country.
“The new track and swimming in a lake instead of a pool will be a new challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”