After winning gold at the National Duathlon Championships last month, an AUT University student is preparing for her first ITU World Triathlon Grand Final.
Twenty-two-year-old physiotherapy student India Kraal was crowned female national champion of the 20 to 24 age group with a final time of 2h13m8s.
“I’m three weeks out from the world champs so it was a good blowout. It’s the same time length as a normal triathlon,” she says.
Kraal’s coach Steve Farrell saw the Duathlon Championships in Taupo as a great chance for Kraal to mentally and physically prepare for the ITU Champs, to be held in Auckland later this month.
“It was a very hard course in Taupo, starting with a 10km run, a 40km bike and then a 5km run.It was a bloody hard race,” he says.
Farrell also participated in the race and won gold in the over-50-year-old category.
Kraal says she is a balanced athlete and does not want to rely on any one of the disciplines – running, cycling or swimming – to carry her through a race.
“Cycling has sort of become my strength. I think it’s just improved the most but I am a strength and endurance athlete,” she says.
The Duathlon Championships’ race format was “perfect” for Kraal, she says – even though she thought she would not be able to push through after a tough first run.
“After the 10km run my legs were already feeling dead and I thought, ‘This is going to be horrible’, but I warmed to the race during the bike.
“The track suited me with endurance as the speed athletes fell away,” she says.
Competitor Rebecca Grace, who finished second in the 30 to 34-year-old division, says the course was tough but still a lot of fun.
“The wind made for some tough, grind-your-teeth sections, but really fast in others.”
Grace sees Kraal as having a strong future because of her positive work ethic.
“Indy’s a great triathlete because of her endless positivity and willingness to work for
“She is also a very strong runner,” she says.
Kraal says she is excited by the prospect of the world champs.
The course will be the same as the one she raced on to qualify for the event in November last year.
“Lots of my family and friends are coming up for it.
“The elites are going to be here so there will be a big crowd.
“It’s just going to be an awesome experience,” she says.
Farrell thinks Kraal has huge potential and has it in her to break into the under-23 elite team.
“She is not afraid of training and working hard which is great,” he says.
“She also does a great job of balancing university work with a lot of hard training.”