KZN’s Mikaela Jonsson winssilver at World Triathlon Champs
GAUTENG –Jeep Team athlete and KZN’s rising multisport superstar, Mikaela Jonsson (18) proved her mettle by getting a well-earned silver medal at the 2016 Snowy Mountains ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships (Under 19’s) on the 20 November in Australia.
Located in the heart of Australia’s High County, and starting at an altitude of 1100m with Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciusko as the backdrop,Jonsson’s Junior U19 race consisted of a 500m swim in the cold 16-20 degree Lake Crackenback; a 12km MTB, which was two 6km laps comprising approx. 80% grippy, flowing single track, rocky paths, bridges, rock gardens and creek crossings;and a 3.3km trail run, which was a technically-challenging course with energy-sapping short, punchy climbs and descents with creek crossings, a river run, a suspension bridge, obstacles, rock scrambles and some true off road terrain.
Says Jonsson, “I’m really happy because I left it all out there. Came out the swim 3rd, onto the bike 2nd. Unfortunately, I got a hectic chain suck just as I was catching the leading girl on the bike so lost a lot of time sorting it out. Went onto the run like a mad woman and just couldn’t catch her after closing the gap a lot on the run. But that’s racing! Standing on that podium was so incredible.”
This is Mikaela’s final junior year and Under 19 athlete, and she made the most it conquering the high altitude and rugged terrain in an impressive time of 1.14.17, a minute behind Australian Laura May who claimed the World Champion title in a time of 1.13.20.
Jonsson, who placed 4th in the champs in 2014, skipped 2015 due to clashes with her Matric studies and set her sights on the 2016 World Championships with a gruelling 6-day-week training schedule.
Undeterred by a lack of funding to compete in the event, Jonsson turned to a crowdfunding platform to achieve her goal.
Said Jonsson, “Unfortunately no support is given by our National Federation and all travel, accommodation and team kit costs have to be covered by the athletes, hence my fundraising efforts to go after my goal.”
It has been an epic year for the determined Jeep Team Athlete, with Jonsson winning her first ever Olympic Distance Triathlon at the Tinman Tri-Series in Durban in July.
What’s next for the athlete?“Going forward I hope to be able to race around the globe doing what I love while representing my country – swimming, cycling, running, and of course capturing moments through my camera lens. My ultimate goal is to compete at the Olympic Games one day,” she said.