For the second year running, Agones SFC organised the National Cross-Triathlon Championship under the auspices of the Malta Triathlon Federation. Cross-Triathlon is a multisport event which consists of offroad cycling and running segments. This year, the event was sponsored by Garmin Malta and supported by Mochika Outdoor Life. The championship was held at Xgħajra on Sunday 7 August.
The wind in the previous hours filled the sea with a swell that was not deemed unsafe for the participants and thus the race was turned into an Duathlon of 1.6KM run, 20KM cycle and 5KM final run.
It was last year's champion, Shaun Galea who wrapped up the first run in the fastest time, but unfortunately for him the bike segment was plagued with technical problems thus slowing him down. On the other hand, Alan Borg and Ackerly Hili stood up together leading the race for most of the cycling segment and they rushed off for the final run in an almost identical time. However, Alan Borg was on fire on the day and he pushed back Hili's challenge by a spectacular second run whcih saw him winning the race and conquering his first ever National Championship. Hili held on to second place while Joseph Galea managed third place. Last year winner, Shaun Galea, could not obtain better than the 4th place.
In the female race, Danica Bonello Spiteri dominated from start to finish, in all three sectors of the race and she finished well in front of the second-placed Lara Buttigieg who had to mitigate problems on the bike to finish the race. Donia Micallef was third after good runs.
Joseph Zammit and Patrick Scicluna teamed up to win the Relay-Teams competition on the day.
Immediately after the race, Alan Borg was jubilant after his first ever National title. 'I simply had the perfect race today, and I felt strong and confident throughout. After the first run, I joined the leading pack and contended the leg with Ackerly Hili who was also very strong on the off road course. Winning the title was very emotional to me after so many hard work and sacrifices' said Borg. He thanked his coach Danica and all the team, and more importantly his family and relatives. Bonello Spiteir also reacted on the same line as Borg and stated that 'I made an effort not to start too fast on the first run. On the bike course, I was doing really well but had a puncture after just 4 kilometres. I managed to remain focused and was feeling very confident due to fact that I have improved a lot on the technical aspect lately. I was also very happy for my team mates, Alan Borg and Lara Buttigieg for their important results', said Bonello Spiteri.
In conjunction with the Malta Youth Triathlon Academy-MYTA, kids and youth cross-country races were held on the same morning. Max Spiteri Fiteni and Julienne Woods topped the Under 9 Category, while Kai Azzopardi and Viola Banyai won the Under 11 race. The Youth race saw Thomas Woods and Charlotte Spencer were first in while the Junior race was won by Nikol Micallef and Callie Hock.
The organising club of Agones SFC thanked the Malta Triathlon Federation for its support, Medcomms Malta, agents of Garmin for sponsoring the race and Mochika Outdoor Life for supporting the event.
Shaun Galea claims his first major national title while Bonello Spiteri makes it three in a row in a spectacular National Aquathlon Championship
The Aquathlon Championship is a multisport event where athletes run for 2.5KM, then swim for a full 1 kilometre and finish off with another 2.5KM run. The championship race was held in Marsaxlokk and saw the participation of a record-number of 84 athletes.
Danica Bonello Spiteri confirmed her dominance in the local Aquathlon scene as she grabbed the third National Championship in three editions in the discipline following her triumph at the National Duathlon earlier on in April this year. But the most important victory in Marsaxlokk was registered by youngster Shaun Galea who become National Aquathlon Champion at just 18 years of age by sprinting to victory over the defending champion, Keith Galea.
The female race saw an exciting duel between defending champion Bonello Spiteri and Hannah Pace. Both athletes shared the spoils during the race, as Pace had the best swim while Bonello Spiteri registered the best of the two runs. However, some precious seconds conceded by Pace in the transitions, led the way to Bonello Spiteri to claim the title with Pace trailing just 3 seconds behind her. Third place was gained by Michelle Vella Wood.
In the male race, The Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club's trio, Keith Galea, Shaun Galea and Omar Said immediately set the tempo from the very first seconds of the race. They entered Transition 1 trailed by Neil Markham, Jean Claude Randon. Not even the swim could put any space between the front pack as the first three athletes entered the last transition within 6 seconds of each other. However, in the last run, Shaun Galea find more energy to spare as he charged on the defending champion and won the national title by 8 seconds. Said claimed the third place on the podium.
The Age Categories awards were won by Neil Markham and Anjelika Balzan Ruggier in the Under 23 Category, by Paul Privitera and Karen Amato in the Over 40s, Gaetano Catania and Suzanne Farrugia in the Over 50s, while Pawlu Brincat claimed the Over 60s category.
The event also saw a record number of participation in the Children, Juniors and Youths Swim-Run races which were organised by the Malta Youth Triathlon Academy-MYTA in collaboration with the Malta Triathlon Federation, as 50 young athletes between the ages of 5 and 15 filled the race course at il-Qrajten Beach. Max Fiteni Spiteri and Aurora Gafa' won the Under 9 race while Luca Vella and Erica Louise Zlaten topped the Under 11 event. In the Juniors, it was Thomas Woods and Emilia Vella who won the race, while the Youth race saw the success of Malcolm Vassallo and Callie Hock.
'We introduced Aquathlon to entice more people to multisport and triathlon, and today's races showed we are succeeding in this quest by registering record participations in both adult and youth races' said a visibly satisfied President of the Malta Triathlon Federation, Cyprian Dalli. 'While congratulating all the winners and participants, the Federation expresses its gratitude to our sponsors, Gatorade and Farsons Beverage Imports Company Limited for their support as well as the fantastic group of volunteers who made this event possible'.
The race was also supported by NM Arrigo Ltd., Perskindol Malta, Nyoo Destination Welness, ORS Hydration Tablets by JV Pharma, Rimus Trading Agency, Weetabix Protein, Alpen Cereal Bars, Nectar Group, Carmelo Abela Marketing, Sunshine Snacks and San Michel Table Water.
The next event by the Malta Triathlon Federation is scheduled for the 2nd of October, when the Grand Finale of the National Triathlon Championship will be held on the Coast Road.
The Female and Male Podiums at the Gatorade Malta National Aquathlon Championship 2016
(photos by Angie Conti - www.angieconti.com)
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