By Darlington Gatsi
THE upcoming Bonaqua Triathlon Africa Cup will see a reduced turnout of elite athletes in the face of the ongoing cholera epidemic affecting Southern Africa.
The 16th edition of the Bonaqua Triathlon will be held in Troutbeck in Nyanga on February 17.
Concerns over potential exposure to the disease have led many top competitors to withdraw from the event.
Bonaqua Triathlon Africa Cup director Rick Fuilton said they are expecting a reduced number of athletes in the elite category.
“Unfortunately the level of numbers of elite athletes that we were hoping to attract given where we are within the Olympic qualifications qualification period has not worked. The major fallback for this has been the cholera epidemic in the region, not just here. It has become a bit of a problem.
“We had a lot of athletes enter the race and take themselves up because of the cholera scare which is unfortunate. We are trying to be positive about it with statements on the World Triathlon website but it has had an impact on the entries,” said Fuilton.
Despite the entry setback, the Bonaqua Triathlon Africa Cup has attracted several athletes from Zimbabwe, Austria, Algeria, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mauritius, Netherlands, Namibia, Romania, South Africa, Tunisia and UAE.
In the elite category, Zimbabwe will be represented by Olympic hopeful Andy Kuipers who will be participating for the first time in four years.
“I am really happy to be here. One of the reasons I deferred my semester from university was to come and do Troutbeck as well as I got a few more commitments and races to do in terms of qualifying for the games but I am really excited to be here,” said Andy Kuipers.