Buffalo City welcomes the 13th IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa

Buffalo City welcomes the 13th IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa

With the IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa in Buffalo City just around the corner, the excitement for Race Day is becoming contagious. The 26th of January 2020 will see more than 1 500 athletes embark on a 1.9km swim, a 90.1km cycle and a 21.1km run.

The IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa welcomes a variety of athletes from across the board all driven with the determination to make it across the finish line and claim their IRONMAN 70.3 status. Apart from friends and family taking part, you might want to keep an eye out for various professional athletes along the course as they take on the notorious Buffalo City route.

Race day would not be the same without our competitive professional athletes who break barriers and push their bodies to the limit. Returning to defend his IRONMAN 70.3 title from last year is Bradley Weiss from Stellenbosch, Western Cape. Weiss says, “I’d be lying if I didn’t say my goal is to defend my title and gain my slot to the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand.” After winning the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa he sustained a severe left leg bone injury. After spending just over four months recovering, he went on to conquer the remainder of 2019 and is more than ready for his first race of the 2020 triathlon season.

Taking it back to last year and what that win meant for him, Bradley responded, “2019 was the year I chose to transition from off-road triathlon racing to on-road middle distance racing. So, winning in Buffalo City last year was the best way I could have started my season. It gave me confidence to race on the road and confidence in my decision to transition to on-road racing. It also meant I had won my slot to qualify for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nice, France later that year, so the win took huge pressure off me to chase a qualification slot throughout the season.”

“The most memorable takeout was having a proper head to head dice with Matt Trautman on the run. I had a sizeable lead coming off the bike, but Matt showed promise for the win by closing the gap quickly. We spent most of the run battling it out between the two of us, but I managed to eventually gap him and take the win for my first major regional championship in IRONMAN 70.3. Similarly, my effort on the bike proved that I can be strong on the TT bike, despite my small stature. Although this race has more climbing than most (where my small stature is a benefit), the shift from the more explosive MTB racing had worked, so I grew confidence in myself.”

Another hot professional athlete you do not want to miss is Henri Schoeman. Henri is the man the PRO’s will be looking to beat as the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist has arguably got the most consistent and powerful swim and will be keeping the PRO field on their toes when it comes to the run. Henri will be using the IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa as a build up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. All eyes will be on him to see how he fairs in the longer triathlon distance, it would take a brave man to bet against him.

Other PRO men to look out for is Matt Trautman who will be returning to Buffalo City to take on Weiss who narrowly beat him last year and to test himself against Olympic medallist, Schoeman. Trautman is a fan favourite and will be joined by a strong PRO field with the likes of Kyle Buckingham, Bart Aernouts, Cyril Viennot to name but a few strong PRO competitors who will be looking to upset both Weiss and Schoeman. 

Of the PRO female athletes, Emma Pallant from the United Kingdom will be returning to Buffalo City for her third time. In 2012, following a knee surgery, Pallant crossed over from middle and long distance running to triathlon. Since starting with triathlon, Pallant has had multiple podium finishes on the IRONMAN 70.3 circuit, making her an athlete to look out for on Sunday. Pallant narrowly missed out on victory in 2018 losing out to Jeanni Seymour. She came back even stronger in 2019 but fell short again, this time to Annah Watkinson. Pallant will be eager to finally claim that IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa bragging right on Sunday, however, the defending champion, Watkinson, is ready for red hot racing and won’t give up her title without a fight. Being a fan favourite, Watkinson will have the Buffalo City spectators urging her on.

This year sees five other South African PRO women take to the start. With Lauren Cannon coming off a 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Durban win, she will feel that she has what it takes for a podium spot. Jade Nicole and Mariella Swayer are a force to be reckoned with and they will certainly be giving defending champion, Watkinson, a headache come race day. To round up the South African PRO athletes it’s the experienced Magda Nieuwoudt and Natia van Heerden who is taking on her first season as a PRO after winning her age group at the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i.

Not yet mentioned is 2x ITU World Champion, Commonwealth Games Champion and now 5x XTERRA World Champion, Flora Duffy. Although her ultimate focus this year will be winning that gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Duffy has chosen to warm up by taking on one of the world’s toughest IRONMAN 70.3 races. She will no doubt be looking to kick off her triathlon season with a win this Sunday, and possibly eyeing out a few course records – she’s that good on her day! 

Buffalo City welcomes the 13th IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa

New Year’s Greetings!!

Dear Colleagues, Members and Friends

 At the start of this new decade, my wish for all is ‘may the worst be behind us and the best lie before us’.
 Uppermost in our minds is the vexing and concerning issue of load shedding, particularly following extensive speculation in local and online media. Chamber will be engaging with local authorities and bring light to the actual situation within a very short space of time. Please stay in touch and rest assured,  we remain active as YOUR voice of business.

Best regards,

Les Holbrook
Buffalo City welcomes the 13th IRONMAN 70.3 South Africa

2020 RMB Buffalo Regatta from the 13th – 15th February

The RMB National Rowing Squad have selected the RMB Buffalo Regatta as a key race in preparation for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

This year marks the 133rd Buffalo Regatta, one of South Africa’s most famous and historical rowing events consisting of six lane sprint racing over 1000 and 2000 meters. ELBA is delighted to be partnering with RMB to bring you the 2020 RMB Buffalo Regatta.  RMB is the proud official sponsor of the RMB National Rowing Squad, leading up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The Regatta attracts participants from rowing universities, clubs and schools across the country and many spectators which total approximately 2000 visitors over the 3 days or racing.

The Buffalo Regatta has evolved from being a single-morning event, hosting a dozen races, to a 3-day event incorporating over 1000 competitors and 200 events and has been televised by SuperSport over the last few years. It inspires great excitement and cut-throat competition, making for rowing at its finest.  Two of the events, namely the Silver Sculls (for Senior A Single Sculls) and Grand Challenge (for Senior A Coxless Fours) are highly coveted races that every oarsman aspires to win for the two magnificent trophies at stake commonly regarded as the most valuable trophies in South Africa 

This is a special year as the Buffalo Regatta falls on an Olympic year making it an important training, racing and selection regatta for the South African National squad. Roger Barrow; coach of the South African Men’s National Rowing team is bringing the Men’s squad to race the Grand Challenge, the Men’s Pairs and the Silver Sculls. The team has been training hard and the rowing community are in for a treat to watch these athletes’ race at their peaks.

The squad also includes Rio Olympians, Lawrence Brittain, Jake Green and David Hunt. The racing will add to the selection data being collected by the coaches to select a men’s pair and a men’s four for the Tokyo Games. The Men’s pair is the only boat to have qualified for the games thus far while the Men’s Four and a Women’s Lightweight Double are hoping to qualify through the Late Qualification Regatta in Luzern in May this year. 

Spectators will be treated to some serious racing as the squad fights it out for a chance to race at the Tokyo Olympics.

The East London Boating Association (ELBA) (https://elba.org.za/)  was founded in 1881 when the Buffalo Regatta began and remains the proud host.  ELBA Chairperson; Jacques Buchner says:

We are very fortunate to have the support of the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and the Department of Sport Recreation Arts & Culture who are committed to promoting the Eastern Cape as a destination of choice for both Investment and the hosting of major sporting events.

We believe there is huge benefit for our local economy as a result of the hosting of the RMB Buffalo Regatta. The sport is known to attract South Africa’s typical LSM 7-10 consumers, which means many of East London’s businesses will benefit from the event with the supporters booking hotels, hire cars, eating at restaurants and visiting our shopping centres.

We estimate from the 2000 visitors the event attracts to East London spending on average R1000 per day over the 4 days of the Buffalo Regatta will see R8 Million being spent in our city. 

We encourage the East London community to come support one of the most prestigious national sporting events in South Africa.