Numerous surprises at the FNB Sandman

Record entries
JP Burger dethroned former champion Konrad Marais by winning the FNB Sandman elite men's ultra-distance competition at the Swakopmund Mole
Jesse Jackson Kauraisa
The men's ultra-distance winner of the FNB Sandman competition, JB Burger, clocked an impressive 4:35:00, followed by Konrad Marais (previous champion) and .

Jan-Louis Mostert finishing in the third posission.

Burger showed his class throughout the event. He set the pace and maintained his lead throughout the cycling and running items until the very end. This left last year’s champion Konrad Marais chasing what appeared to be an unassailable lead in trying to catch up with the challenger.

Burger who could not contain his excitement after the event and lauded the organisers. “I am happy that I managed to win this one even if the conditions in the water was not that pleasing. I have been training hard. Thank you FNB Namibia and all other sponsors for making this possible.”

Marais who finished just 3 minutes behind Burger, said it was the toughest conditions he had to compete in ever since joining the event. “There has been tougher competitions, but this one was the toughest because the waves were not so kind. I am glad that I did eventually finish second behind JP,” Marais said.

Marais was also part of the successful Sea Works team consisting of Jurgen Sander and Les Trollope which secured victory in the ultra competition in a time of 4:30:00.

The female category was won by Benita Windich in a time of 5:06:00. It was her second consecutive victory in the event she won last year under the surname of Kasch.

Organiser Yvonne Brinkman said that the event attracted around 400 athletes and said that this number reflects the amount of effort and growth the event has experienced in the past four years. Last year, the event played host to close to 350 participants. “The turnout to this year’s event has been incredible and that has just made us proud as organisers. The event only attracted about 80 entries four years ago. We introduced different competitions and categories which made it possible for more people to enter. It gets a bit complicated in terms of logistics but we are proud of how everything turned out on Sunday.”

The winner of the standard category JP Van Der Westhuizen said that he did not like the swim. "I am more accustomed to swimming in dams and swimming pools. It was not easy but I did put in everything I had in my tank and pushed for the victory.”

The event also saw the presence of Olympian Phillip Seidler who competed in the team’s event and was the first person out of the water overall. He hopes that his participation in the event can motivate people to take up swimming and sport in general. “I am glad to be here today. I hope that my presence will encourage young people to take up sport. I also hope that spectators will see how important sport is and realise there is enormous benefits for society that comes with it."