Ironman champ to race in PE

BIG DRAWCARD: World champion Daniela Ryf will compete in the Ironman African Championship in Port Elizabeth on April 2 Picture: GETTY IMAGES
BIG DRAWCARD: World champion Daniela Ryf will compete in the Ironman African Championship in Port Elizabeth on April 2
Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Swiss superstar confirms she will compete in African event

Two-time reigning women’s Ironman World Champion Daniela Ryf has confirmed that she will be on the starting line of the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship in Port Elizabeth on April 2.

The Swiss maestro has had a remarkable rise in long distance triathlon, but was tipped to reach the top early on in her long-distance career.

Today, Ryf is the dominant force in women’s long-distance triathlon and has become arguably the most complete athlete in the sport since the great Chrissie Wellington.

She will become the third women’s Ironman World Champion to race in South Africa following compatriot Natascha Badmann and Britain’s Wellington.

Swiss athletes have enjoyed success in South Africa over the years and none more so than Badmann who won Ironman South Africa four times, with her final win coming at the age of 45 in 2012.

Included in the Swiss contingent who have tasted success in South Africa are Ronnie Schildknecht (2013) and Simone Braendli (2014).

Despite the past success of her compatriots, the world champion is looking to make her own mark.

“I am looking forward to doing the race and making my own experiences on the course,” Ryf said.

“I heard it is challenging, which I like.

“The bike will be hard, which is probably why most Swiss liked it so far.”

With a record that includes the 2015 and 2016 Ironman World Championship as well as the 2014 and 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championship, Ryf is the clear favourite whenever she races.

Her performance at last year’s Ironman World Championship was nothing short of incredible, leading from the front, holding off a Mirinda Carfrae charge and breaking the course record in the process.

Being used to this level of performance, she does not allow the favourite tag weigh her down.

“I don’t care about the outside pressure anymore, as I have proved to myself. I race for myself, that’s why I enjoy it,” Ryf said.

In 2011, Wellington treated South African triathlon fans to a rare display of power and dominance when she broke the then Ironman women’s world record in Port Elizabeth.

She still has fond memories of her time in the country and so too does Ryf, who raced her first World Cup in South Africa in 2006.

Eleven years on, she returns a world champion and after seeing her dominate Kona last year, South African triathlon fans can once again look forward to seeing the world’s best in their own back yard.

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