The 28th Edition of the Malta National Duathlon Championship organised by the Malta Triathlon Federation last Sunday, 17th April saw the dominant figures of multisport in Malta in the past years, Danica Bonello Spiteri and Keith Galea confirming once again that they will be the force to be reckoned with in the coming months as they both clinched yet another National Title in their illustrious carreer.
It was Galea's fourth Duathlon Title, the third one in a row, while Bonello Spiteri celebrated the 20th anniversary from her first win in this championship by winning her formidable ninth title.
The race was staged at the outskirts of Safi and Kirkop on a short but trick loop of 2km, which the athletes had to cover twice on Run1, 10 times in the Cycle and a final lap for Run2, for a total of 4kms, 20kms and 2 kms. This was a historical race for the Malta Triathlon Federation as it was the first time that a multisport event in Malta was using an Electronic Timing system, which was operated by Agones SFC, one of the the MTF affiliated multisport clubs.
The men's race was as exciting as it can get with 3 athletes, Shaun Galea, Steve Chetcuti and James Cuschieri hot on the heels of the defending champion Keith Galea. All 4 entered into Transition 1 simultaneously. Keith Galea put all his focus on the cycle and managed to escape the group and went on lead which saw him entering the last transition a minute ahead the chasing group. Youngster Shaun Galea had an impressive final run which saw him covering the 2km in just 6 minutes and 44 seconds but it was not enough to past by Keith Galea, who retained the title with 51 seconds to spare. Shaun Galea snatched a sensational second place at just 17 years, while Steve Chetcuti made a clean sweep for Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club on the podium. The other youngster Neil Markham won the Under 23 category, with Bernard Sant taking the honour in the Under 20 category. In the Masters Categories, Kevin Muscat topped the Over 40s, Hadrian Bonello was the first one in in the Over 50 while Joseph Cortis took the Over 60 honour.
In the Female competition, it was clear from the very first metres that the title would go either to Danica Bonello Spiteri or to Hannah Pace who stuck together and opened a margin of 40 seconds on defending champion Michelle Vella Wood and the chasing group. Pace had the best bike-split of the day but Bonello Spiteri fought back in the last run and claimed her title with a winning lead of 25 seconds over Pace in second place, with Vella Wood completing the Ladies podium. Youngster Nina Zammit won the Under 23 category with her 5th female overall place, while Debbie Caruana Dingli claimed the Over 50 female category on her return to multisport after a couple of years sabbatical.
The hero of day was however athlete Mark Lewis who during the cycling part of the race deliberately stopped his race to assist a fellow athlete who had just suffered from a bike crash. Mark Lewis helped the athlete in all possible manner and stayed on until the athlete was assisted by the Emergency Services who were present for the race. The Malta Triathlon Federation expressed its great admiration for Lewis' selfless act and commended him for his deed.
The Malta Triathlon Federation expressed its gratitude and appreciation to organisations and persons who supported this event, namely the Parliamentary Secretariat for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sports, The Malta Police Force, the Local Councils of Safi and Kirkop, Magri Cycles, Joseph F. Spiteri & Co. (1927) Ltd., Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, Oh So Yummy Bars, San Michel water, V.J. Salomone (Marketing) Ltd. and Go&Fun Green Energy Drink.
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