SA’s Mur­ray eye­ing medal

The Citizen (KZN) - - SPORT - Wes­ley Bo on

De­spite tak­ing his foot off the pedal this year af­ter nar­rowly miss­ing out on a medal with his fourth-place fin­ish at last year’s Olympics, Richard Mur­ray (above) hopes to make his­tory to­day by be­com­ing the first South African to fin­ish on the over­all podium in the World Triathlon Se­ries.

While he en­joyed an ex­per­i­men­tal year, which in­cluded some off-road Xterra rac­ing and his first half-iron­man race, Mur­ray opened his cam­paign with a World Cup vic­tory in Cape Town, and he went on to reach the podium at three legs of the World Se­ries to set­tle in third place.

Though leader Mario Mola of Spain was the firm favourite for the se­ries ti­tle ahead of to­day’s fi­nal in Rot­ter­dam, Mur­ray needed to fin­ish in the top four to be guar­an­teed a place on the podium.

“The WTS wasn’t my fo­cus for the sea­son so if I fin­ish in the top three over­all it will be great,” Mur­ray said this week.

Olympic bronze medal­list Henri Schoe­man had not earned a podium spot in the top-flight 2017 cam­paign, but his three top-10 fin­ishes and two World Cup sil­ver medals placed him 11th in the over­all stand­ings, and he was set to turn out as a dark horse af­ter win­ning the se­ries fi­nal in Cozumel, Mex­ico last year.

For­mer world ju­nior cham­pion Wian Sull­wald, ly­ing 17th in the rank­ings, would com­plete the three-pronged South African at­tack in the elite men’s race.

Gil­lian San­ders, in 24th po­si­tion over­all, and Si­mone Ack­er­mann in 37th spot, were among the elite women’s en­tries.

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