JOHANNESBURG – The 2018 season did not quite go as planned for South Africa’s elite women triathletes, but Gillian Sanders and Simone Ackermann hope to get back on track to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
They will lead South Africa’s charge in the Discovery Triathlon World Cup in Cape Town on Sunday when they will be looking to make a positive start to the year.
The first half of last year was a collection of crash, booms and bangs for the pair.
Sanders had a topsy-turvy season, crashing twice by June, but managed to recover well for a few positive results on the international circuit.
The 2014 Commonwealth Games mixed relay silver medallist said she had contemplated retirement after being bombarded by accidents in the first half of 2018.
She crashed and cracked her rib at the World Triathlon in Abu Dhabi in March and again took a tumble at WTS Leeds in June.
“The first part of the year was actually an absolute disaster, the Cape Town race was okay, where I had an average result there,” Sanders said.
“It was a really terrible start to the year so I slowly managed to get fit again and I had some decent results towards the end of the year.
“I found some form towards the end of the year but it was probably one of the most trying, testing years I’ve ever had and I definitely questioned whether I wanted to carry on with the sport in the middle of the year.”
SA-born Ackermann, who switched allegiances from New Zealand, had an equally difficult year in the swim-cycle-run event.
Ackermann made a good start the year, finishing fourth in Cape Town, but the wheels came off for her at the Commonwealth Games.