Henri Schoeman is fast becoming the world’s top triathlete as he beat a top-class field to claim the 2018 Commonwealth Games title at the Gold Coast in Australia on Thursday.
He raced to victory in the swim-cycle-run event, finishing in 52:31, with Australia’s Jacob Birtwhistle taking second place in 52:38 and Scotland’s Mark Austin grabbing third spot in 52:44.
Fellow South African Richard Murray , who was one of the favourites, finished in a credible sixth place in 53:04, with Wian Sullwald crossing the line in 20th position in 56:30.
“This means everything to me. Two years ago Olympic (bronze) medallist and now Commonwealth champion,” Schoeman said.
“It is such a fantastic feeling and I am just so happy that I could do this for my country, I could do this for supporters and most importantly for my family and my girlfriend.
“They are the true supporters and I am just so happy I can bring this medal home.”
Schoeman laid the foundation on the swim where he came out of the water in second place before positioning himself well on the bike ride.
It ultimately came down to a smashing run, with the Durbanite breaking away from the rest of the field to win in style
South Africa’s triathlon coach, Lindsey Parry, was impressed by Schoeman’s tactical approach.
“I am super stoked to see South Africa winning its first gold medal. Henri was brilliant today,” Parry said.
“He was second out of the water, did enough to ensure that the breakaway group stayed away during the cycle leg and gave a very dominant display on the run, showing that his (recent) victory at the Abu Dhabi World Series race was no fluke.”
In the women’s race, Gillian Sanders was the top South African, taking 15th place in 1:03:06, with Simone Ackermann finishing in 18th position in 1:05:53.
The triathletes will have another chance for a medal in the mixed relay race on Saturday.