Ironman thrown wide open

CALF TEAR: Champion Jan Frodeno has been forced to withdraw from the PE event. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
CALF TEAR: Champion Jan Frodeno has been forced to withdraw from the PE event. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Calf injury forces world champ Jan Frodeno to withdraw

REIGNING Ironman world champion Jan Frodeno has withdrawn from the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship in Port Elizabeth on April 10 due to a calf muscle tear.

Frodeno sustained the injury in Australia while training for the event and has over the past four weeks undergone intensive rehabilitation in an attempt to be ready for the race.

Due to the nature of the injury, Frodeno has been unable to run for four weeks with the probability of being able to run a full marathon in less than three weeks becoming increasingly unlikely.

The injury has not healed as quickly as hoped, which prompted Frodeno to make the tough decision to withdraw.

“Unfortunately, my optimism didn’t quite get me to the line this time,” he said.

“I was really hoping to strengthen my calf enough to face the Ironman African Championship, but the reality is that I would have to go into the race knowing I would have to walk portions of it.

“That’s not my style and I don’t want to disrespect the race, fellow racers and, of course, the fans by simply showing up to punch a ticket [qualify for the Ironman World Championship], rather than at least give it a good shot.”

Frodeno’s withdrawal throws the men’s professional field wide open.

James Cunnama, Matt Trautman and Kyle Buckingham all have a realistic chance of becoming the first South African winner since Raynard Tissink in 2012.

Renowned international athletes Ben Hoffman, Tim van Berkel, Ronnie Schildknecht, David Plese and Boris Stein will also be looking to land the title and earn early qualification to the world championship.

“While many were looking forward to seeing Jan race in South Africa, his decision to withdraw is the correct one considering the extent of the injury,” Ironman SA operations director Paul Wolff said.

“We wish him well during his recovery and look forward to seeing him racing again very soon,” he said.

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