South African Olympic triathlete, Gillian Sanders, lined up for the last time as a professional athlete at the iconic Malibu Triathlon as she called time on her illustrious career.
The 39-year-old shared the news on Twitter before her performance, saying: “Tomorrow I will stand on the start line one final time as a professional athlete! And what a way to do it, at the iconic Malibu Triathlon in the Super League Triathlon Championship final, with a stacked star list. I can’t wait to go & give everything out there one last time.”
Sanders ventured into the sport at a young age as she was influenced by her father and older sister who competed as triathletes.
Tomorrow I will stand on the startline one final time as a professional athlete! And what a way to do it; at the iconic Malibu Triathlon in the @SuperLeagueTri Championship final, with a stacked startlist. I can't wait to go & give everything out there one last time pic.twitter.com/bQLBnEA9WZ
— Gillian Sanders (@gillcurrsanders) September 24, 2021
At 13, the iconic SA athlete competed at the World Triathlon Championships in 1995, finishing fifth in the 13-15 Age Group at that in 1995.
She continued to represent South Africa as a Junior Elite at World Championship level. Following high school and a move to the prestigious Stellenbosch University to pursue a 5-year law degree, Sanders put her triathlon dreams on ice, whilst continuing to run track at 1500m.
A two-year law training contract at a law firm in her hometown following the completion of her degree saw her resume triathlons, this time racing for a professional domestic triathlon team on the South African triathlon circuit.
In 2010, while still working full time in the city of London as a lawyer, Sanders re-embarked on her triathlon career. At the end of 2010, she put her legal career on hold to go full time as a professional triathlete, the first time she had the opportunity to focus purely on her sport.
The experience of 2010 coupled with her first solid off season of base training made for an exciting 2011. The experience proved better than imagined. The highlight was an opportunity to race on the Olympic course against the strongest women’s elite field of the year in WCS London leg.
Sanders went on to feature in three Olympic Games in her career.
Photo 1 Caption: South African Olympic triathlete Gillian Sanders lined up for the last time as a professional athlete at the iconic Malibu Triathlon as she called time on her illustrious career. Photo: Gillian Sanders (Instagram)