Sullwald finished 2nd in his semi-final and 8th in the final. The time gap between the first eight athletes was merely 25 seconds.

The competition, consisting of 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run, was won by Florin Salvisberg (Switzerland) in a time of 53 minutes and 46 seconds. Fransesco Godoy (Spain) was 2nd in 53:54 and Frederic Belaubre (France) 3rd in 53:58. Sullwald’s time was 54:10.

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What was impressive about Sullwald’s performance was that he was able to increase his speed by almost a full minute from the semi-final to the final that took place the next day. His time in the semi-final was 55:02.

On the International Triathlon’s website it was reported that the final was a race in which the swim has become more important than ever. Tommy Zaferes (USA) was fastest out of the water. He was followed by Salvisberg, along with Ben Kanute (USA), Wian Sullwald (RSA), Alexander Bryukhankov (RUS) and Belaubre (France).

These athletes were part of a lead group of nine, who quickly established a good lead on the bike. At the end of the two opening laps the gap was more than thirty seconds, with the lead group working well together to maintain the pace. But behind them, the remaining field was also working well together, maintaining their rhythm and refusing to allow the leaders to increase the gap.

Lap after lap followed with the two packs going for each other, gaining a few seconds here and losing a few seconds there. It was nip and tuck, but the gap of about 35 seconds was still intact when the leading nine entered T2. During the run it was every man for himself. Sullwald completed the last 5km in 15 minutes and 16 seconds.

This result certainly proved that Sullwald is on track to achieve a good result in the u.23-event of the ITU World Triathlon Championship in London (11 September). Sullwald will aim for a top-five finish.

“I have to be realistic. It will take some doing to get the result I would like to at the world championships. It is a huge step up from competing in the junior ranks to competing in the pro-elite category.

“Luckily, having competed in quite a few European events helped me to become much stronger, not just physically but mentally as well.”

Sullwald’s upward march through the international triathlon rankings proves that the young athlete is constantly improving.

This is the first season that he competes for ranking points. In January he was ranked about 240th but after his good results in Hungary he is now currently ranked 75th

Richard Murray (4th) and Henri Schoeman (20th) are the other two South Africans who are ranked in the top-hundred.

Sullwald is sponsored by the hpc, Specialized, Puma, Oakley, PeptroPro, Huub Design, SASCOC, Triathlon South Africa, Continental tires and Futurelife.

Video Interview:

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