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Durban North triathlete shines for SA

The Durban North resident and Grade 11 learner at Durban Girls’ College has represented South Africa at various international competitions.

IT has been a watershed year for triathlete Kadence ‘Kitty’ Ribbink who has represented South Africa in three international competitions.

The Durban North resident and Grade 11 learner at Durban Girls’ College first competed in the Europe Triathlon Junior Cup in Tiszaújváros Hungary in July.

In the same month, she also took part in the World Triathlon Sprint and Relay Championships in Hamburg.

Then, in August, the 17-year-old represented the country at the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago where she placed fourth, missing the podium by a mere six seconds.

Kadence ‘Kitty’ Ribbink.

If that wasn’t enough, she recently finished second at the Africa Triathlon Championships in Hurghada, Egypt, in the junior elite female (U19) category.

“It has been an incredibly busy year but also a special one for me. To be able to represent my country, knowing everyone is supporting me from back home has been incredible. It has been a few months of really tough races but great experiences. One of my standout memories was finishing fourth at the Commonwealth Youth Games, and it was tough knowing I came within seconds of a podium finish. Having said that, I was aiming for a Top 10 finish. I was also coming off a hip injury which I struggled with in Hungary.

“That result, though, gave me the confidence to know I can compete among the best in the world. I have had two goals that I have worked hard towards, the first being to finish in the Top 30 at next year’s Triathlon World Champs. The second was to finish in the top half at the Africa Triathlon Champs, and I was so proud of my second-place finish. In all of these events, you come up against the best of the best, and you really get a sense of where you stand as an athlete,” she said.

Kitty is also following in the footsteps of her two older sisters, who have also represented South Africa in the sport.

“It was hard for me not to get involved. I couldn’t just sit and watch them train, so I started training in 2018. I always hoped to, one day, represent my country. I think I believed I could reach my goals, but there is always that twinge of doubt you fight as a professional athlete. It is also thanks to my coaches, Mdu Khumalo, Mandy Loots Ntokozo Myeza, Riana Robertson and Tri X, who’ve bolstered my belief that I’m on the right path to success,” she said.

The talented athlete, who previously represented KZN in surfing and indoor netball, is looking forward to a well-deserved break after a year competing at the highest levels.

Kitty trains every weekday and most weekends.


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