The Elite Athlete Development Programme (EADP) claimed its first ever medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
The achievement occurred when Durban North triathlete Henri Schoeman took the bronze medal in the men’s triathlon.
Alongside athletes such as 200m sprinter Anaso Jobodwana, swimmers Myles Brown, Matthew Meyer and Calvyn Justus, sprint canoeist Bridgitte Hartley, open water swimmers Chad Ho and Michelle Weber and cross country mountain biker Alan Hatherly, Schoeman has flown both the programme’s and nation’s flag high at the Brazilian showpiece.
“There are no words to describe how excited I am. When I was crossing that line, I was just full of emotions and I’m just really happy that I made everyone back home in South Africa proud,” said Schoeman.
Despite a difficult final week’s preparations, Schoeman blazed his way to third place in the testing swim-cycle-run event behind British brothers, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee and ahead of his rampant Team South Africa team-mate, Richard Murray.
“This is my first international triathlon medal and for it to happen here at the Olympics – I’m just ecstatic; it’s amazing,” said Schoeman.
He emerged from the water seventh and remained with the 10-bike lead group throughout the 40km cycle leg before clinging to third place on the 10km run.
Since its introduction just two years ago as part of a plan to enhance the development of KZN based athletes, the EADP has produced countless national and international accolades.