Richard Murray led a South African podium sweep on Saturday, as local athletes made history at the Discovery Triathlon World Cup race in Cape Town.
Murray, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, overcame a time penalty for a rule infringement at the final transition, covering the sprint distance (750m swim, 20km cycle ride and 5km run) in 51:33.
Despite having to stop for 10 seconds on the run leg after failing to put his cycling helmet in its designated box, he secured a convincing victory in warm conditions.
“Our shoes are usually placed on the left of the box, but this time the shoes were inside the box so I just threw the helmet aside, and I think it was a bit of a fault from the event organisers,” Murray said.
“I thought I might lose this one due to the penalty, which would have been sad, but I’m very happy with the way it ended up.”
Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman finished second, eight seconds off the pace, and former world junior champion Wian Sullwald ended third, a further 15 seconds behind.
It was the first time SA athletes swept the podium in a World Cup contest, and Schoeman was delighted they were able to do it on home soil.
“The first race of the season is always a bit of a shock to the system, and I felt a bit sluggish in getting the engine started,” Schoeman said.
“But I’m happy with my form at this stage and I think South Africa had a great day, so we can all go celebrate now.”
British athlete Lucy Hall won the elite women’s race in 59:34, outsprinting compatriot Jessica Learmonth by less than a second, with Ai Ueda of Japan taking third place.
Anel Radford was the first SA woman across the line, finishing 15th in 1:01:53.