Burger, Windisch dominate FNB Sandman

Record number of entries
Jean-Paul Burger dethroned former champion Konrad Marais after winning the FNB Sandman elite men's ultra-distance triathlon at the Swakopmund Mole on Saturday.
Winner of the FNB Sandman triathlon Jean-Paul 'JP' Burger said he was proud of conquering the ultra-distance competition in the men’s category after clocking an impressive 4:35:00.

Held at Swakopmund, it once again proved to be one of the most popular triathlons on the Namibian calendar, with the main competition contested over the ultra-distance of a 1.9-kilometre swim, 90-kilometre cycle and 21-kilometre run.

Burger showed top class swimming and running, keeping a distance ahead of the rest of the competitors.

This left last year’s champion Konrad Marais chasing what appeared to be an unassailable lead by the challenger, finishing three minutes later.

Jan-Louis Mostert came third in a time of 5:12:00.

Toughest competition

Burger, who could not contain his excitement after the event, lauded the organisers.

“I am happy that I managed to win this one, even if the conditions in the water were not that pleasing.

“It was indeed the fact that I have been training hard that made this victory possible.

“I would like to thank FNB Namibia and all other sponsors for making this possible,” he said.

With his time of 4:38:00, Marais said it was the toughest conditions he had to compete in since joining the event.

“There have been tough competitions, but this one was the toughest because waves were not kind.

“My body is in pain, but I am just glad that I did eventually finish second behind JP."

Marais was also part of the successful Sea Works team consisting of Jurgen Sander and Les Trollope, who secured a victory in a time of 4:30:00.

400 athletes compete

The female category was won by Benita Windisch, who claimed an emphatic win in 5:06:00.

It was Windisch's second consecutive victory in the event. She competed under her maiden name, Kasch, last year.

Organiser Yvonne Brinkmann revealed that the event attracted around 400 athletes.

This number reflects the amount of effort and growth the event has experienced in the past four years, she said.

Last year, the event played host to close to 350 participants at the coastal town.

“The turnout to this year’s event has been incredible and that has just made us proud as organisers.

“We introduced different competitions and categories, which made it possible for more people to enter.

“There are no words that can be enough towards our sponsors and partners FNB Namibia,” Brinkmann noted.

The fact that the event only had about 80 entries about four years ago is something that has pleased the organisers.

“Yes, the more people you have, it gets a bit complicated in terms of logistics, but we are proud of how everything turned out on Sunday,” she added.

Olympian in our midst

Winner of the standard race JP van der Westhuizen also shared his excitement after the race.

“I did not like the swim because I am more of a person who swims in dams and swimming pools.

“It was not that easy, but I put in everything I had in my tank to push for the victory,” he said.

The event was also graced by Olympian Phillip Seidler, who competed in the team category.

He was the first person out of the water overall after displaying great swimming skills.

The Olympian hopes his participation will motivate more people to compete.

“I am glad to be here today and I just hope that me participating in this event will encourage many young people to take up any sport of their choice.

“I hope spectators will be able to see how important sport is as well as the benefits it comes with,” he noted.