Henri Schoeman. Picture: SUPPLIED
Henri Schoeman. Picture: SUPPLIED

Henri Schoeman scored more than a victory in the season-opening World Triathlon Series (WTS) event in Abu Dhabi on Friday — he produced a critical piece of history.

The Olympic bronze medallist became only the second competitor to win a WTS race coming through first after each of the three legs of swimming‚ cycling and running.

The other is legendary Englishman Alistair Brownlee‚ the Olympic and Commonwealth Games champion‚ who was missing from this field.

Whether Schoeman can achieve similar greatness remains to be seen‚ but this win at least buried the ghost of 2017‚ when he ended up in hospital as a precaution after having breathing issues.

"I don’t have a bad experience to remember now‚" Schoeman said at the weekend after returning to his Durban base.

But more importantly it has given him a fillip ahead of April’s Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast‚ Australia.

"I think this run in Abu Dhabi has given me a real confidence-booster‚" Schoeman said.

The race was a sprint‚ half the distance of the standard Olympic distance to which Schoeman is better suited.

Yet he destroyed a classy field over the 750m swim‚ 20km cycling and 5km run.

"I never thought I’d be a favourite to win a sprint-distance triathlon‚" said Schoeman‚ who ended second behind countryman Richard Murray at the Discovery World Cup in Cape Town in February.

"In Cape Town I was not at my peak fitness‚ but the last few weeks the training has gone well," he said.

The race in Abu Dhabi proved difficult after a rare rain storm made the course tricky for the cyclists.

Schoeman‚ in the lead group‚ had a small gap over the next two competitors after 5km‚ so he decided to push it‚ opening a sizeable gap.