After settling for the runner-up spot behind compatriot Richard Murray for the last two years in a row, Commonwealth Games triathlon champion Henri Schoeman hopes to claim his maiden top-flight victory on home soil when he turns out at the World Cup season-opener in Cape Town this weekend.
While Murray’s build-up had been hampered by an ankle injury, Schoeman said he was well-prepared.
“I’ve had a pretty good, consistent off-season,” Schoeman said.
“I got in some good training, so I’m feeling fit and ready for the season to begin, and I’m excited to kick it off with the first race in Cape Town.”
Though Murray continued to produce world-class performances on the global circuit in recent years, Schoeman had shone at major championships, earning bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics and winning the ITU World Series Grand Final in Cozumel later that season, before lifting the Commonwealth Games crown last year.
Murray remained the “King of Cape Town”, however, and Schoeman was eager to dethrone his experienced countryman on home soil.
“It would be awesome to take the top step at our local race,” he said.
“It would also be a good kick-off to the season, so I can build some confidence going into the next few races.”
South African athletes had dominated the Cape Town race for the last couple of years.
Aside from Murray and Schoeman’s double one-two, former world junior champion Wian Sullwald was third in the men’s race in 2017 and former New Zealander Simone Ackermann finished fourth in a hard-fought women’s battle last year.
Despite Murray facing a race against time to recover from injury, Schoeman was confident the SA flag would again be raised on the podium, as he geared up to lead the local charge.
“I think it’s just a great venue, and to race in a World Cup on home soil is awesome,” Schoeman said.