South African Richard Murray got his season off to a superb start on Saturday, taking second place at the opening leg of the World Triathlon Series in Abu Dhabi.
In the absence of some global stars, including Spaniard Javier Gomez and British brothers Alistair and Jonathan, Murray put up a strong fight in his bid for victory.
His training partner, defending champion Mario Mola, overcame a penalty on the run leg to win the race in 1:46:39.
While Murray was unable to match the Spaniard’s pace, he held on to cross the line 15 seconds off the pace for the silver medal.
Joao Silva ended third, a further 14 seconds behind.
Henrich Schoeman, the only other South African athlete in the elite men’s race, led out the water but faded on the run to finish 42nd in 1:50:04.
Gillian Sanders and Marie Rabie will carry the SA flag in the elite women’s race on Sunday.