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30 Aug, 2013

Making a Big Splash

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Making a Big Splash

Early in 2012 a group of triathlete friends who were all training for the Ironman came up with an idea to create more team camaraderie within their highly individualised sport, to help each other, as well as help to grow the sport in the Western Cape. The idea was to create a sponsored team of select multisport athletes to compete as brand ambassadors, and invite athletes who showed promising results in the various disciplines that make up triathlon, or who really ‘live’ the multisport brand to the full, to be part of the mix and create a platform for brand visibility.

 

With Tiaan Pretorius and Morne van Greunen taking the lead, a group of 17 athletes was selected, and the Dynamic Multisport team was born in October – but that name was short-lived. “Dynamic Coaching contacted us to say they were starting a multisport club and wanted to use the name, so we offered to change, to keep the peace,” quips Tiaan. “Seven of us sat around to decide on a new name, and since I am putting in a lot of time on the team, we decided to use my family’s business name, Cape Auto Centre, as our new team name. It’s a bit of a different sponsorship, as car dealerships normally go into motor sport, not multisport, but my brother Corne and I like that triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, that the triathlon community is vibrant, and triathletes are courageous, committed, passionate and bold. We feel these are characteristics we would like our business to be associated with.”

 

GETTING NOTICED

Other sponsors also came on board, like 32Gi, Virgin Active, Quali Juice, Power Protection Testing and Tuna Brands, and the team members all signed up to join the New Balance Multisport Club in order to obtain their ASA and TSA licence numbers. They now compete in team colours whenever possible, but also in club colours when necessary, and their team kit features all their sponsors’ and club names.

 

“Our team is a diverse group of talented athletes who train like professionals, yet race as amateurs whilst holding down a full time job or studying. The team gives us the support base that all athletes need, and we feed off each,” says Morne. “Also, we’re above average athletes, but not at the elite level, so obtaining sponsorship is that much harder. Now we have a team and thus more presence at events, so it is easier to approach sponsors.” Tiaan adds that the criteria for team selection went further than just results. “We chose good athletes that have a bit of an audience, and we encourage the members to increase their own profile by not only participating in events, but also to blog about and publicise their racing – if you can have a result and an audience, it’s a win-win.”

 

The team also decided to work towards a worthy cause, so they chose SCAS (Sport for Christ Action South Africa) as their official charity. “Each team member is responsible for raising funds through friends, colleagues, etc., and we will do a cheque handover at the end of the triathlon season, just after Ironman,” says Tiaan. “Next season we’re thinking of getting involved in the development side of the sport, such as sponsoring young kids from disadvantaged communities to introduce them to multisport.”

 

STAR PERFORMERS

The team’s profile has grown rapidly thanks to the great performances of many of its members. There is not enough space here to list them all, but stand-out performances include Colleen De Oliveira winning her age category at the XTERRA SA Champs and then representing SA at the World Champs in Hawaii for the second time, Elma van Noordwyk representing SA at the Long Distance Triathlon World Champs in Spain and Cornelis Engelbreght representing SA at the Olympic Distance Triathlon World Champs in New Zealand. Added to that, many of the team were picked to represent Western Province in various disciplines and distances.

 

Looking ahead, Tiaan says they don’t have plans to grow the team for now, but instead want to focus more attention on supporting the members who have the potential to compete internationally. “Next year the Olympic Distance Triathlon World Champs are in London, which would be a cheaper trip than to New Zealand, so we hope to support our members who qualify. We’re also planning to put on our own weekend multisport event and of course, get many more podium finishes."

For more on the team, check out www.facebook.com/capeautomultisport.