Tuks triathlete Sullwald seeking triumph over adversity

CAPE TOWN – The University of Pretoria’s triathlete Wian Sullwald is not a quitter – despite his career being hampered by several injuries and then almost losing his life in an armed robbery attempt.

Despite all these setbacks Sullwald does not feel sorry for himself and is trying to do his best and win a medal on Sunday when he competes in ITU World Cup in Cape Town.

Ever since Sullwald became the Junior World Triathlon champion, it seems as if he has been dogged by bad luck. 

He has had to overcome constant battles against an interesting variety of viruses and was involved in some bad crashes. 

All of this turned out to be insignificant as in December, 2017, he survived an armed robbery attempt on his father’s farm. 

Impressively he got to compete at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games a mere four months after the farm attack. But something changed as Sullwald started to suffer panic attacks. The more it happened, the more he felt like a failure.

wiansul1 - Tuks triathlete Sullwald seeking triumph over adversity
University of Pretoria’s triathlete Wian Sullwald in action during the triathlon bike leg. Photo: Reg Caldecott

Everything started to make sense when he was diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to top it all also from depression as well. The only option left to him was to take a clean break from the sport. 

“I will be honest. I seriously contemplated quitting, but a little voice kept telling me not to, indicating that I will regret it. 

“Taking a complete break was actually the best decision I had made in a long time as it gave me the opportunity to realise that there are actually still quite a few good races left in my body and that I have not even come close to fulfilling my real potential,” said the Tuks triathlete.

“I started training mid-September. The first time I raced again was in December. I was fourth in Namibia and second in Senegal. 

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“Ever since then my training has been going well – but to be honest, there is still work to be done before I am at my best. My main goal for the season is to get consistently good results. 

“It is important to do so as the Olympic qualification is starting in earnest from this year,” explained Sullwald, who in 2017 finished third in the Cape Town World Cup. 

African News Agency (ANA)

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