Beginning my triathlon career at the tender age of 19 (not exactly an early start) I knew I had a lot of catching up to do. Many other athletes my age already had several years of racing under their belt as juniors so if I wanted to be competitive in triathlon I would need to make a big commitment right from the start. Naturally as a very competitive person this was no problem because at this specific time of my life I was desperately looking for a new physical challenge outside the mental challenge my demanding Degree was already providing.
My very first triathlon was the WP trials race in 2008 which took place at Club Mykonos in Langebaan, Western Cape. It was a road sprint triathlon (750m swim: 20km cycle: 5km run) something which at the time sounded very daunting but I was willing to give it my best effort. I had a heavy aluminium mountain bike which I put slicks onto (ultimate rookie move), threw running shoes and a pair of goggles into my old rugby bag and headed to the race start with stars in my eyes and passion in my heart ready for this new challenge. Thankfully my career has moved on a fair way since these early days but at every race I attend I am always reminded of these humble beginnings by the newest kids on the block who are rocking out with dads 1950s helmet and mom chasing close behind with plenty of sun screen in hand.
There was no 'hallelujah' moment where i was suddenly convinced that triathlon was what i wanted to do as a career. It was more a case of continuous progression until I reached a point where my talent and dedication to triathlon had gotten me to where I could seriously consider taking a more professional approach to the sport I had grown to love. The success one achieves as a professional triathlete largely depends on the individuals commitment towards the sport on a daily basis. I believe this is my strongest attribute as an athlete. Often I am not the most talented athlete in the field but my mental strength is something I pride myself on and often an area few other athletes can beat me in.
Looking forward I am extremely excited about what the future holds for me, making the decision to pursue a career as a professional athlete and not in the field/industry in which I studied was not an easy one but now that a path has been chosen I am fully committed to making it a success. Many tell me that this is a big risk trying to succeed and make a living as an athlete but I believe the most dangerous risk is spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. Remember the age old saying 'you only get one life' I am making mine count, are you?
I am currently 26 years old living in the small town of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape. I attended Paul Roos Gymnasium (PRG) from 2002-2007 where my love of sport was initially cultivated. PRG is one of the most prestigious all boys schools in South Africa and I consider it a massive privilege that I can call myself an 'Old Boy' of such a fine establishment.
In 2008 I enrolled at the University of Stellenbosch where I completed my degree in Bcomm Management Accounting which I completed in 2010. Many professional athletes across all sporting codes (especially the ones going into retirement) regret not getting some form of tertiary education. The truth is at some stage in ever athletes career there will be a point where they will have to retire and enter into a working environment. The fact that when this day arrives I will have a degree to fall back on is something I am very proud of.