Proud And Historic Moment as IRONMAN Sees First Ever SA Podium
Photo Cred: IROMAN

For the first time in IRONMAN history, South Africa grabbed four out of the six professional podium places this weekend.

 

Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa (06 April 2022) – History was made in Nelson Mandela Bay this weekend when South Africa claimed all three podium spots in the men’s IRONMAN African Championship race and third place in the women’s race.

Hometown favourite Kyle Buckingham clinched his second IRONMAN African Championship title (2018 & 2022), joining Raynard Tissink as the only South Africans to have claimed victory at this African Championship event more than once since its conception in 2005. Tissink still holds the record for a South African, having won the race three times in 2005, 2010 and 2011.

Buckingham was closely followed by Bradley Weiss (Stellenbosch) and Matt Trautman (Cape Town), who grabbed the second and third spots, respectively, marking the first time ever South Africa has taken a clean sweep on the professional podium in the 44-year history of IRONMAN racing.

“I can’t believe that I have won it twice; this was the most stressful marathon that I had to run. This was for my mom and dad, who I lost, and that was all I was thinking of during the last 2 kilometers of the race. I just didn’t give up, and I’m so happy to take the win again in my hometown,” says Buckingham.

Resounding cheers welcomed the three over the finisher line as they crossed the finish line within 65 seconds of each other. Kyle Buckingham finishing in a time of 07:16:30 while proudly hoisting two South African flags, one in each hand. Bradley Weiss crossed the finish line 19 seconds later in the time of 07:16:49, and Matt Trautman rounding up the podium in the time of 07:17:36.

The South African trio will take a share in the $100,000 USD prize pot, with Buckingham receiving US$ 25,000, Weiss receiving US$ 15,000 and Trautman receiving US$ 9,000 for his efforts. Like Trautman, Magda Nieuwoudt will receive US$ 9,000 for coming third in the women’s professional category.

In the women’s race, Magda Nieuwoudt, a Pretoria local, claimed third place in the PRO women’s field while also claiming her first-ever IRONMAN PRO podium position. This rounded off a historic moment with four of six PRO podium positions belonging to South Africans.

Other South Africans to crack the top 10 were hometown favourite Natia van Heerden, who received US$ 7,500 for her fourth-place finish, US$ 5,500 for Jade Nicole Roberts for her fifth place and US$ 1,500 for Mariella Swayer, who finished in tenth, making it a fruitful day of racing for the South African PRO triathletes despite the shortened swim and wet weather conditions that they had to fight through early on in the race before finishing in sunny conditions at Hobie Beach, Nelson Mandela Bay.

In addition to the pro lineup, the city of Gqeberha (formerly known as Port Elizabeth) welcomed age group athletes from 44 different countries across both races, with a quarter of the IRONMAN African Championship field made up of international athletes flying in from Germany (16%), UK (15%), and Netherlands (5%), cementing the city as iconic and ‘bucket list’ triathlon destination.

“The IRONMAN African Championship race weekend was a resounding success. The shortened swim for PRO athletes and cancelled swim for age groupers certainly didn’t deter an action-packed race. It was great to welcome back the spectators and to feel the vibe with them lined down the streets cheering on our athletes. And particularly on that red carpet when our South African PRO triathletes made history in a moment that gave me goosebumps, I have never experienced such a cheer when Kyle [Buckingham], Brad [Wiess] and Matt [Trautman] crossed the finish line within seconds of each other to make history. What a moment!” said Keith Bowler, Regional Managing Director of IRONMAN South Africa.

“We thank Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality and ISUZU for being part of hosting this outstanding event.”


Sources: IRONMAN 
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