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Nuru Somi, Jacqui Slack win ACT sprint triathlon championships

Jacqui Slack on her way to winning the women's triathlon.
Jacqui Slack on her way to winning the women's triathlon. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Sibling rivalry helped Canberra's Nuru Somi become one of the best triathletes in the nation's capital after he became bored with soccer.

The 26-year-old won the men's ACT sprint triathlon championship on Sunday, finishing 37 seconds ahead of second-placed Adam Rudgley in a time of 55 minutes and 12 seconds, with Rob Stillman finishing third.

British-born Jacqui Slack won the women's race in a time of one hour, six minutes and 15 seconds, beating Alexandra Brown by 27 seconds, with Kym Ireland a further 12 seconds back.

Somi is a born-and-bred Canberran, although his father is from Tanzania - having won a scholarship to study horticulture in Sydney, where he met Somi's mother.

He started out playing soccer for Belconnen United, but about five years ago he decided to give triathlons a go because his younger brother Daudi was good at it.

At first the elder sibling was slower, but he couldn't stand losing to his younger brother  and he worked to improve.

"I was just a bit over soccer to be honest and my younger brother does triathlon, his name's Daudi, he was pretty good at it and you can't let your younger brother beat you in anything," Somi said.

While the ACT championship was also a world championship qualifying event for the Australian team at the sprint distance - 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre ride and a 5km run - Somi is moving towards the longer distances of the half-ironman, often called an ironman 70.3.

The championship was just a training race as he builds towards the Geelong 70.3 on February 8, which doubles as the Australian championships.

He's also hoping to compete in a 70.3 in Thailand in a few months.

As part of his training, Somi spent eight days at altitude training near Jindabyne.

"I'm moving towards the longer stuff, half-ironmans ... it was more of a training hit-out," he said.

"This is my first real season of going into half-ironmans, I'm looking to get a lot of experience from it.

"I've been going through some pretty big training blocks, so it's experience in getting fitness in this form of racing. It really suits my strengths.

"We were in Jindabyne doing some altitude training and doing a lot of riding and running up there ... it's a bit of a mecca for people who train in triathletes and endurance athletes that train in NSW and the ACT."

Triathlon  ACT will host another qualifying event for the world championships  on March 15 and they're expecting an even bigger turnout than the almost 500 competitors who raced on Sunday.