FNB Desert Triathlon kicks off the Festive Season
Namibia’s FNB Desert triathlon, now being held for the 29 time, has again found international flavour. The increase in prize money that the title sponsors, FNB Bank, have put into the event, has helped to attract some top athletes from around the world.
From the glory days when the race first started in 1986, triathlon went through a bit of a dip. The partnership between FNB Bank and OTB sport, over the last 8 years has assisted in the growth of triathlon in Namibia.
This year the event is expected to have a very strong turnout with a least 20 international triathletes visiting Namibia for this prestigious event, with another 250 Namibians taking part.
Namibia is producing some talented endurance athletes who are achieved top results on the international stage. Jean Paul Burger, previous Biathle World Champ, has recorded one of Namibia’s fastest Ultra Distance time in the 2014 FNB Desert Triathlon.
Jean Paul is the favourite to win the Ultra distance race for the second time in a row. There is a possibility that one of the visiting International triathletes will try to unseat Jean Paul, but it will be a tough job.
Tyrone Kotze who took second place in 2014 in the Ultra distance, will also be doing his best to give JP a hard time. Namibia’s other international triathlon champs Drikus Coetzee and Herbert Peters will fight it out in the Olympic Distance. Not to be forgotten Andrew Danger Rowles, now in peak form after a good string of race results in 2015, might just possibly create an upset.
Namibia’s other great veteran triathlon champs who used to dominate the headlines such as Paddy Murphy, Frank Bombosh and Paul Brinkmann will also be contenders in the Olympic distance but they fall in the older categories now, no longer racing in Elite.
The female side of Triathlon has grown tenfold over the last 10 years. “The first races we organised” said Yvonne Brinkmann of Otb Sport, “we only saw a handful of female entries. It was difficult to create categories. All you had to do was to take part to get a prize,” she added.
The female side of the race is still dominated by the vets such as Elke Jagau and Antje Tietz who are likely to walk away with the top prizes. Charmaine Shannon unfortunately will not be participating in the event as she had a minor operation and is on antibiotics.
The route will stay the same as in 2014. The sea conditions are going to be less rough than in 2014 where the route had to be changed on the morning of the race because the buoys had been swept away by the furious seas. Wind conditions will be windy as usual, making the cycle section hard. The run runs along the sea in a loop with a slight see breeze keeping you cool the whole way.
Otb Sport thanked FNB for the continued support over the last 8 years. Otb also thanked OCNAM for assisting with bike logistics and bike route water tables. Vigo for sponsoring the finishers drink and Herco Marketing for sponsoring all water table drinks.
There are three distances that can be entered. The light race which involves 400 meter swim, 20km bike ride and 3 km run, the Standard distance (1km swim, 40km bike, 10km run) and the Ultra (1.9km swim, 90km cycle and 21.1 km run).