This weekend saw Tilly Anema claim a place on the women’s podium at 2022 Africa Triathlon Cup Dakhla in Morocco as Dom Coy took fifth place in the men’s race.
The tourist city of Dakhla in the north west of Africa welcomed triathletes from across the continent and around the world for standard distance racing on Saturday 10 December, with five Brits taking to the start line.
As well as Anema, Ellie White (12th) also competed in the women’s race, whilst in the men’s race, Oliver Turner (11th) and James Chantler-Mayne (15th) took part alongside Coy.
Turner (JER) and Coy (WAL) both competed at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, crossing the line 15th and 18th respectively in the individual race, with Coy part of the silver medal winning Welsh mixed relay team.
Reflecting on the race in Dakhla, Anema said: “It was a really nice experience, just being somewhere different. I was really surprised and quite happy with the race.
“The swim was quite hard because it was quite a shallow start, so we had to do dolphin dives at the start and I struggled a bit, but after the first lap I tried to push the second lap and managed to come out of the water first.
“The bike was quite hard but it settled down towards the second half, so I just sat and tried to save my legs a little bit. The run was really hard, hot, and we just made a break of I think like four girls. A hard run but I was surprised that I managed to stay with them. It was a big improvement on my run.
“The third lap of the run I pushed the pace on. I was on the front and then we dropped the fourth girl of the pack, so we had a big gap.
“It was quite amazing. I’ve never podiumed at a continental cup before. I was over the moon really. I just felt like all the training had been worth it. I normally don’t get to race in the winter, so was nice to have that and just give some more motivation for the rest of the winter.”
The race in Morocco was Anema’s first international podium and comes off the back of her finishing third in the British Triathlon Senior Super Series in 2022.
“I definitely think that British [Super Series] racing helps a lot,” Anema continued. “The bike is so hard in British races that when you get to the higher level you’re used to the hard bike.
“I’ve got three days that are a bit easier and then I’m in normal training up to Christmas, and then after Christmas I’ll have a week of just taking it a bit easier before a training camp in January.”
Four of the five British athletes who raced in Dakhla are based at the National Triathlon Performance Centre Wales in Cardiff, with Anema saying of the centre: “It’s so nice, we’ve got a nice small group of athletes and the coaches are really good at giving feedback individually. Since I’ve been here I feel like I’ve progressed so much in each of the disciplines.
“Having people you know [travelling with you] just settles you so much because you’re not nervous about being in a place that you don’t know.”