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March 01, 2012

Sporty Cape Town – A Cape Town Tourism photo essay

Some may call it "slaapstad" (sleepy city) but Cape Town has an active community, conscious of its health and wellness. Our Cape Town. Live it. Love it. group member Chris Hitchcock shares his views with us.

I spend a lot of time travelling throughout South Africa shooting adventure and action sports, particularly multisport events such as triathlons. So, when an international triathlon event happens on my doorstep, I jump at the chance to photograph the action without having to spend half the weekend on an aeroplane.

The 11 Global event took place at Blouberg recently, and incorporated the African Sprint Cup and the South African Sprint Championships. As this is an Olympic year, top athletes from 11 countries arrived to compete against each other.

Anyone can photograph a person cycling or running - the aim is to be different from everyone else. Different views, low angles and the unexpected all combine to make an extraordinary image. It’s not difficult to take good images in Cape Town, and even easier when the athletes are giving their best. Couple that with the amazing weather we had at the 11 Global event, and this is what we ended up with.

To top off a perfect day, South African athletes won both the men and women's events, with Cape Town’s Richard Murray winning the men's category, and National Champion Carlyn Fisher, from Pretoria, winning the women's race.

What photo of a sports event in Blouberg would be complete without Table Mountain in the background? It’s clichéd but I had to do it.

Kaisa Lehtonen, of Finland, was about 30 seconds behind the leading ladies when I took this photo. She was chasing hard to catch them, but mechanical problems with her bike forced her to withdraw.

The start of the elite men's race, with Durban's Henri Schoeman bursting into an early lead. Acknowledged as South Africa's strongest swimmer in triathlon, Henri proved true to form by being first out of the water by some 30 seconds. Mechanical issues with his bike saw him finish in a lowly 17th place.

This is my favourite image of the day. Israel's Dan Altman was meditating on the beach prior to the men's elite race. With a water temperature of only 11 degrees °C, the 1.5km swim had most athletes shivering, despite wearing wetsuits. That’s what happens when you have a body fat percentage of 6%.

Do you have images of Cape Town you’d like to share with us? We’d love you to join the Cape Town. Live it. Love it. Flickr group!

Images © Chris Hitchcock

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