Kona, as it is affectionately known in Triathlon circles has been held since 1978. Competition is fierce to secure one of the 1,800 spots, and qualification times get harder and faster. Dermot's qualification will see that Malta is being represented, for the first time, ever, in the Ironman World Championships.
Dermot Galea has been chasing the Kona dream since 2007, putting long hard hours of training in order to achieve what has become a seemingly impossible qualifying time. Racing in Ironman Zurich on Sunday 28th July, Dermot, battled intense temperatures of 38 degrees to finish 9th in his age group and 49th overall, in a pool of 2,600 athletes thus gaining a place for next year's championships.
"I am extremely happy with this achievement, not just for myself but also for the people around me primarily my fiancée Johanna, my parents and brother Keith, my training partner Barry Farrugia (who is the first Ironman in the Armed Forces of Malta) and his partner Nicoletta Mangion and the rest of the support team I had here in Switzerland, especially Bill Livingstone, Pam Batchelor and Sophie Livingstone who travelled all the way from the UK to support me" said Dermot Galea. "It's a big milestone for Triathlon Malta as we will now be present for the first time at the Ironman World Championships. I would also like to thank the Malta Triathlon Federation Board for their support, President Cyprian Dalli for all his hard work and my club and secretary general Euchar Camilleri. "
Triathlon in Malta was first introduced in 1986, through the efforts of Peter Paul Borg Costanzi and has in the recent years seen a sharp increase, both in local participation as well as participation in races, such as Ironman, abroad. In fact this year over 25% of the Triathlon community would have participated in Ironman races worldwide.
"We are very proud of Dermot's racing history. Throughout the years, Dermot has made Malta proud, both on a local and international plane. His commitment and determination has resulted in consistent results. Sunday's race in Zurich was the culmination of his efforts" said Cyprian Dalli, President of the Malta Triathlon Federation. "Dermot's efforts have now taking Triathlon Malta to a higher ground. We are sure that this will be of great motivation to our athletes and prestige to our Federation".
In a separate statement, Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club congratulated their triathlete, emphasizing their pride to have Malta and the Club colours flying for the first time ever in an Ironman World Championship.
An Ironman Triathlon is a race consisting of a 4 km swim, a 180km bicycle ride and a marathon run of 42km, raced in that order and without a break. Ironman Triathlon became known for its grueling length and harsh race conditions.