The Fast Triathlon is a special event for which Brazil invites only three athletes from each of five different countries.

This year it was France, Argentina, Columbia, South Africa, and USA.

The athletes compete against each other in three rounds of a super sprint triathlon (250m swim, 4km cycle and 1km run) and they earn points according to the positions in which they finish.

The country with the most points is the winner.

Sullwald is more or less satisfied with his performance.

“If I am completely honest with myself, I have to admit that it was definitely not one of my better performances.

“The first round was my worst. The water was very cold and, because of the short distance that we swam, we were not allowed to wear wetsuits. So I was battling quite a bit.

“Competing over such short distances is really tricky. If anybody was lucky enough to catch a wave in the swimming, he was away and it was almost impossible to catch up with him again.

“By the time we started the second round, I had the right mind-set and was much more motivated. It turned out to be my best performance, because I finished third.”

According to Sullwald the team had a good time in Brazil.

In the end it turned out that the main challenge for the South Africans was not to compete against some of the world’s best tri-athletes, but to get back home again.

“Our trip back was hell. We started our journey at one o’clock in the morning on Monday (25 February).

Our problems began when our first flight was delayed, causing us to miss our connecting flight back to South Africa.

“This meant that we were stranded in Brazil for another 24 hours. We only arrived back in South Africa on Wednesday morning.”

It was not the long hours that he had to spend on airplanes and at airports that really bothered Sullwald.

“What really upset me was that I missed out on three full days of training. I can only hope that it will not be a major setback.”

Sullwald will defend his South African triathlon title on 17 March in East London.

He is sponsored by Specialized, Puma, Oakley, PeptroPro, Huub Design and Futurelife.