Triathlon has been my profession since 2004, since it interfered too much with my studies(qualified accountant and employed by TATA STEEL - but they give me flex time to pursue my dreams and goals).
The first light shone upon me in Pretoria 1981/12/22. Welkom, a Gold mining town was where I grew up an finished school. After that I moved to Potchefstroom, where I studied, started triathlon in 2000 and that was my summer (8months in the year) base.
The next phase of my life, I will continue in the beautiful Stellenbosch(50km) from Cape Town - a business(training) and lifestyle decision. Time will tell the outcome, but with my firm believe I have only great expectations.
Before Richard Murray, before Henri Schoeman, there was a very good athletes that was running the socks off the international ITU TRI series. His name was Hendrik de Villiers.
We bumped into him down in CT at the Discovery World Cup Triathlon and asked him what he was up to now that he no longer competes as a professional. Triathlon is a grea sport and to do it professionally for a living is a drewm come true for many.
However, it does have a shelf life and once you stop placing in the money positions, you need to have something to fall back onto Hendrik has seen a gap in the market place which he feels, will be a great help to those sportsman who aspire to reaching professional full time athletics but perhaps dont quite make it there all the way for whatever reason
Hendrik has a CV 2nd to none. Check this below
u/19 SA Biathlon Record holder since 2001 – still standing.
3 x World Biathle Champion 2001-2003, then moved over to Triathlon primarily
4 x Energade series Champion 2003 – 2006 5 x SA triathlon Champ 5x African Triathlon Champ
2006 – London Triathlon Champion – Career Highlight.
2007 Richardsbay World Cup Champ – First South African to ever win a World Cup, which was the top level equivalent to WTS today. May 2007 – which is also 10 years ago – could tie it up nicely with progress in SA Triathlon to a first ever clean sweep by SA men 10 years later. (probably career most special memory).
2008 – World Cup 3rd place. 2008 – World Champs 4th place, Vancouver Canada 2006 Commonwealth Games 10th, 2008 Olympic Games Team – but untimely illness caused my withdrawal.
Numerous top 10 World Cup finishes and 2 times top 5 World ranking at year end
The concept was envisioned by Hendrik de Villiers, a former Triathlon Champion, a professional Triathlete for a decade until retiring in 2012. He learnt from his own and his peers’ experiences that there are a number of financial gaps:
1. Insufficient funding when athletes are building their careers.
2. Losing the opportunity to win prize money due to injuries in season.
3. Losing sponsorship or federation funding.
4. Insufficient income whilst being a sportsperson. No “corporate” benefits (medical aid, provident fund etc.). 5. Retiring after a 10 year sporting career with little or no corporate work experience.
This is a South African story; we have so much raw talent that is never properly developed. Many athletes lose funding from their sponsors or federations when they sustain an injury. This sometimes ends their career and forces them into permanent work. They then no longer have time to train or compete on an international level.
“THIS HAS HONED MY OPTIMISM, VALUES AND ETHICS, WHICH HAS LED ME TO LEAD A PASSIONATE AND MEANINGFUL LIFE TODAY.”
Just like providing financial advice, where a financial needs analysis needs to be conducted, Hendrik considers it is imperative to have an Athletes Needs Analysis. The aim is to direct more money into sport and thereby address the athlete’s needs, putting necessary support structures into place, step-by-step.
“So much great sporting talent is lost and never develops to reach its full potential – not only in sport, but across other industries and cultures. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN DUE TO FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS. Let’s go for Glory and go get those GOLDS” – Hendrik de Villiers
In the early 2000s, Hendrik De Villiers was one of SA’s leading sprint and Olympic distance triathletes, but his pro career was cut short by financial constraints. Having gone into financial planning and insurance, he is now trying to give back to the athletes of our country by offering them an opportunity to generate income to fund their careers. – BY SEAN FALCONER
He may have run his first Comrades Marathon this year, clocking 9:50:49, but Hendrik’s first love will always be multisport events The multisport bug bit him early, when he started doing biathlons at the age of 10. He says he could run and swim well, so did quite well, and that naturally saw him progress into triathlons in high school, when he and friends participated in the relay event at the 5FM Energade Series. “I can still remember my first tri race as a 16-year-old at Maselspoort in Bloemfontein. We won the relay, and I still have the Energade bag that was part of our prize hamper.”
In 2001 he set an under-19 SA Record in biathlon, which still stands, and was crowned World Biathle Champion three times from 2001 to 2003, before moving up to triathlon. Although he did own a bicycle in high school, he had only used it for commuting to school and practice, so giving triathlon a full go had to wait till after school. “I only got my first racing bike after school. I used all the money I had saved my whole life, and I told myself I would not buy another bike unless I earned enough through the sport to afford it.” “I was studying full-time at Potch at the time, for my B.Com. Accounting degree, which is a really tough course, and I had to save up as well to afford weekend racing trips around the country. Fortunately, success came almost immediately. My running and swimming were strong, and even though my cycling still had to catch up, it was easy to ‘hide’ on the bike because drafting was legal. On the other hand, I was racing the three Storm brothers, who often worked together against me, but I did well and was approached by the Nestle team to race for them.”
With sponsorship support, Hendrik became a podium regular throughout SA as well as in several international races and championships, often using his devastating run speed to clinch wins. He won the 5FM Energade series four years in a row from 2003 to 2006, won five SA Triathlon Champs titles, and also five African Triathlon Champs titles. Straight after completing his studies, he raced in Germany for a Bundesliga team, and contested his first World Cup season in 2004, posting five finishes frustratingly just one position outside the prize money!
In 2006 he won the London Triathlon, which he describes as a career highlight, and then finished 10th at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. The following year he won the Richards Bay World Cup event. “I was the first South African ever to win a World Cup event, which was the top level equivalent to the World Triathlon Series of today. That was probably the most special memory of my career,” says Hendrik. In 2008 he finished fourth in the World Champs in Vancouver Canada, and that saw him selected for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, but he unfortunately had to withdraw shortly before the Games due to illness – and that proved to be the closest he would get to the Games…
While he continued posting numerous top 10 World Cup finishes as well as two end-of-year Top 5 World Rankings, Hendrik’s career came to an unplanned and abrupt end in March 2012, when he was 30. “I originally intended to retire after hopefully making it to the 2012 London Olympics, but I lost my sponsor in February that year and the national federation pulled my funding in April after I suffered a tummy bug at the African Champs in Mauritius and didn’t earn any qualifying points that day to help get me into London. At that time I only had three events left where I could earn more points, and I was only ranked 57th in the world – you needed to be in the top 50 to make the Olympics. The one race was in the USA, another was in Spain, and I think the third was in Canada, so it would have been very expensive to travel to all three events.”
“I was already in debt, had two beautiful children depending on me, and my divorce had just gone through, so I decided to retire, because it was just not financially possible for me to continue. It was a very hard decision, because I think I could have managed three Olympics if things had gone right for me and I had the financial backing to go all the way. These days I just watch the sport, and when I see what the guys earn thanks to the Ironman events and lucrative sponsorships, I really think I was around just a bit too early in the sport.”
Having hung up his racing shoes, Hendrik went into the financial planning and insurance industry, and his experience in the final years of his triathlon career has very much influenced his decision to develop the Champsure platform specially targeted at athletes. “I learnt from my own experience that there are a number of financial gaps that athletes need to fill, including having insufficient funding to start their careers and no benefits such as medical aid or provident fund while pursuing their careers, losing out on prize money due to injuries, losing a sponsorship or federation funding, and retiring after a 10-year sporting career with little or no corporate work experience.”
“So, we are helping them to generate income for their sporting careers, and for after they retire, via the insurance industry. In essence, it’s a referral contract, but we also create a profile for them on our website, to promote them. The athletes get friends, family or even fans to sign up with us as clients, in order to support the athlete thanks to a portion of all payments being allocated to the athlete that brought their business in.”
Hendrik says Champsure is primarily focused on individual Olympic sports, such as athletics, swimming or triathlon. “Apart from individuals, we also sign up schools and sport clubs, and the public can also nominate them via our website. Many individual athletes and the minor sports tend to get little or no exposure and media coverage, so no funding either, and Champsure is therefore a great model for athletes, schools or clubs to make extra income… but this is a long-term deal, and we tell guys not to expect a get-rich-quick solution. This is about creating a win-win-win scenario for the client, athlete and the company, giving back and enabling athletes to live their dreams.”
Hendrik de Villiers is extremely passionate about sport and education, both tools that he believes can change the world for the better.
He was a professional triathlete for 10 years until 2012, when he took a clean break to carve out a career as a financial planner and working in corporate.
After six years he is now in a position to put financial planning on the backburner and shift his focus back into his passion and love for the sport.
His triathlon career speaks for itself, but before that he was a 3-time World Biathle Champion.
Hendrik represented South Africa on the global stage, starting off as a 4 time series winner of the 5FM/BSG/Energade sprint series, a 5 time national and African Champion, 2006 London Triathlon Champion, 2006 Commonwealth Games 10th place finisher and 2008 Olympic Games team member. He was also the first ever South African to win a World Cup, back in 2007.
Having worked in the corporate world and as a dad of three, Hendrik understands the pressures of the everyday athlete who needs to carve out the time to train. Hendrik is ready to give back and make a positive change in the broader triathlon community, as well as his own lifestyle.
His training approach is old school: no mess no fuss, yet holistic and getting the balance right. He believes in keeping it simple and getting the basics right before you add in more advanced training techniques. What you see is what you get with Hendrik. It's very easy to know exactly where you stand with your coach, and he appreciates the same in return.
He has a TSA (Triathlon South Africa) coaching certificate and a SSA (Swimming South Africa) Learn To Swim certificate and is highly skilled in stroke correction and technique improvement.
Keep the fun and passion high and the motivation will look after itself. Lastly train smart… but that does not exclude training hard!
Mozambiçue and Angolan swimming pools