Invitation to the African Para-Triathlon Championships in Egypt on October 14 proved to be a monumental moment for Brackenhurst’s Heinrich Vermaak and his guide, Jefferson Murdoch. The dynamic duo made their international debut, earning South Africa two silver medals after securing second place. This achievement followed their earlier invitation to the Africa Triathlon Champs alongside Para Olympic bronze medalist Gavin Kilpatrick, who, unfortunately, couldn’t attend due to illness.
Vermaak expressed his delight, calling the experience fantastic, praising their clean race without time penalties, and earning valuable world triathlon ranking points. He highlighted the crucial role of Gavin, who initially trained with him and then transitioned to coaching. Local biokineticist Tyla van der Spuy played a pivotal role in enhancing their physical performance, especially in power output during cycling.
Vermaak acknowledged the dedication of his guide, Murdoch, who helped make the Africa Champs a reality after four years of effort. As a visually impaired triathlete, finding a dedicated guide willing to share in his dreams posed a significant challenge. Murdoch’s remarkable support and efforts, alongside Gavin’s, brought Vermaak to the competitive racing level required. He also appreciated the encouragement and support of everyone who made their journey to Egypt possible.
Murdoch highlighted Egypt as an exceptional learning experience, emphasising the joy of representing South Africa as a guide to Heinrich. They competed fiercely against an Egyptian team, acknowledging their formidable competitors. The duo is now focused on exploring funding options and sponsorships as they aim for the ultimate goal of the Commonwealth Para Games in 2026. After a well-deserved break, they will commence preparations for the SA Champs in March.
Follow us on Google News
Photo: Supplied by Southern Courier