In its constant aim to upgrade its standards and levels of competition to reflect the trends of the continental and global directions of multisport, the Malta Triathlon Federation has recently held its first ever National Aquathlon Championships in Malta.
Aquathlon is one of the three pillars of multisport in which the athletes compete in the disciplines of running and swimming and finish off their efforts in a final run.
The Malta Triathlon Federation opted to dispute the Championships on the Standard Distance of 2.5km run, a swim of 1000 metres and a final 2.5km run. The championships were held in M'Xlokk and saw the partecipation of a healthy number of athletes from the triathlon background.
Having to forsake the use of the cycling leg, the athletes had to carefully pace their race in this short yet very challenging route.
In the male category, all the big guns of the triathlon scene were side by side on the starting line with Fabio Spiteri, David Agius-Lia and Graham Borg ready to give national triathlon champion Keith Galea a good run for his money. Agius-Lia was however the only to keep up with Galea in the first run and they entered the water side by side, however, a strong performance by Galea in the swim resulting in the fastest performance in the water on the day and the fastest run from them all saw Galea claiming the championship in a formidable 34 minutes. Thus, Galea is currently poised as the National Champion of Duathlon, Triathlon and Aquathlon on the island.
In the female field the conspicuous absence of the Triathlon Champion, Michelle Vella-Wood left the field of play open for the exploits of Margaret Seguna to chase down Duathlon champion Danica Bonello Spiteri who was looking to continue her formidable streak of the season. Seguna managed to keep at the heels of Bonello-Spiteri in the first run and even after the swim which left the duo fighting till the last metre to the finish line, with Bonello Spiteri edging it over Seguna for just a couple of inches for a thrilling finale, while Johanna Galea claimed the third spot on the podium on her come-back after some months of absence from the multisport scene.
The Age Categories prizes were hardly fought but in the end were claimed by Claudia Zammit and Jude Zammit in the Over 50 and Fabio Spiteri in the Over 40. Youngsters Neil Markham and Nina Zammit claimed the Under 20 category, in a very tangible sign of the progress they are registering after the European Triathlon Union's training camps this summer. Mattea Grech and Loredana Vella claimed the Relay Team prize.
The Federation, in order to nurture the future of multisport on the island also organised a kids & youth race immediately after the adults championship. These races were coordinated by the Malta Youth Triathlon Academy's coaches and saw the participation of 38 young athletes aged between 5 and 15 among the excitement and support of parents, friends and athletes alike.
The next appointment of the Malta Triathlon Federation is now scheduled for the Grand Finale of the multisport season : The National Triathlon Championships which will be held on Sunday 12 October at Marfa and Mellieha. More information on the event can be obtained by contacting the Federation on 79037933 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On 7th September 2014, Maltese couple Ben Psaila and Anna-Marie Watson took part in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships held in Mont Tremblant, Canada competing in the 35-39 Age Group categories. Psaila was 100th in his category out of over 220 qualifiers, while Anna-Marie was 26th out of over 110 qualifiers.
First held in 2006 in Florida, this championship race is the pinnacle of the Ironman 70.3 series of races – a triathlon race consisting of a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride and 21.1km run. Over 2200 athletes aged from 18 to over 80, earned the right to compete in Canada this year by qualifying at one of over sixty Ironman 70.3 events around the world. Psaila had qualified for this race in Canberra, Australia in December 2013 while Watson was a relatively late qualifier at Luxembourg in June 2014.
They had not had the perfect preparation for the race as they currently live in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and had been lacking open water swimming practice, while cycling and running training was difficult in the heat of the summer, when they often saw temperatures of up to 49º Celsius while training. They had managed to get some respite with some trips back to Europe to take part in Ironman 70.3 races in Aix en Provence in May and then Luxembourg in June as well as the St. Patrick’s Aquathlon in Marsaxlokk at the end of June. 3rd and 5th place finishes for Watson in Aix en Provence and Luxembourg, and a 4th place finish for Psaila in Marsaxlokk gave them confidence that they were getting into shape for the big race in Canada.
They had planned to get to Mont Tremblant 4 days before the race to give them time to prepare and check out the race route as well as get over the jet lag caused by a 7 hour time difference. Unfortunately, Air France managed to lose Psaila’s bike box, which also contained his running trainers and wetsuit. When it hadn’t turned up 24 hours later, he approached the wetsuit and bike makers Quintana Roo who were able to provide him with a bike and wetsuit for the race. He also managed to buy a new set of running shoes from a local shop, although they were quite different to his normal shoes and would take some getting used to.
With large crowds watching on and a high quality pro field at the start line, the race got underway in spectacular fashion with a low level flypast of a Canadian Air Force fighter jet to signify the start. As expected, Psaila was the quicker of the two athletes representing Malta out of the water in a very respectable 27min 56sec placing him in the top 50 of his age group. While Watson did have a swim PB of 35min 6 secs, she was still only 81st in her category and would have a lot of work to do to move up the field.
Their fortunes on the bike went in different directions with Psaila losing considerable time against a lot of the other male athletes, which was unsurprising considering that he was riding on an unfamiliar bike. He was to eventually getting off the bike in 166th place with a bike split of 2hr34min39sec. Watson, on the other hand was flying through the ladies field, moving up over forty places to 39th with a bike split of 2hr41min29sec.
Watson continued her upward climb past the other female competitors on the run – a two lap course including a number of challenging hills. Setting off hard, she immediately started going past a number of the other female athletes, and although she did slow slightly over the final 5km of the run which included some of the hardest section of hills, she managed to finish the run in 1hr 37mins 17 secs, for a total time of 5:00:17. This put her in 26th place in the tough female 35-39 category, improving her position from last year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas by 5 places.
Psaila’s race on the other hand had another major reversal of fortunes after the poor bike. Keen to make up lost time as he came out of transition two, Psaila immediately started to dominate the run.
Finishing the first 10.6km lap in just over 43mins, he was flying through the men’s field, and while he had a touch of cramp around the 16km mark brought on by the change in footfall caused by the new shoes, he was still able to finish the half-marathon run in a PB of 1:27:41. This very quick run had allowed him to re-pass 66 of those that had gone past him on the bike, finishing the race in 4hr37mins16sec - 540th overall out of over 2200 of the best male and female triathletes in the world.
Their next major commitments will be at the Dubai International Triathlon on 7 November 2014. This is another half-Iron distance event where Watson will certainly be looking for another podium finish and Psaila will be looking at trying to break the 4hr 30min barrier. This should set them up nicely for competing at the full-Iron distance race at Challenge Roth in 2015.
The official press release for the professionals category is available here: http://eu.ironman.com/triathlon/news/articles/2014/09/ironman-70.3-world-championship-recap.aspx#axzz3DqJdlxMu
The Malta Triathlon Federation will be organising the first-ever Malta National Aquathlon Championship this month, on Wednesday 2014, at Marsaxlokk.
The Aquathlon Championship shall be disputed on the Standard Distance, which consists of a 2.5KM run, followed by a 1000m swim and concluded by a 2.5KM run. The race will start at 5:30pm in front of the Marsaxlokk Waterpolo Club.
Aquathlon, together with duathlon and triathlon, the three most important aspects of multisport. The International Triathlon Union, the global governing body of multisport, has been organizing world championships for aquathlon since 1997.
'The Malta Triathlon Federation aims at giving its members and partecipants the full opportunities of racing different formats of multisport and therefore it has decided to include for the first time ever a National Aquathlon Champipnships during its season. We are delighted to see a lot of interest in this type of multisport and we are certain that this will not be the last time this championships will be organised' said Cyprian Dalli, President of the Malta Triathlon Federation.
In its aim to encourage more future generations of athletes to partecipate in multisport events, the Federation, together with its Malta Youth Triathlon Academy-MYTA, will be organising an aquathlon for kids and youths straight after the event.
Race application forms can be obtained from the Federation's website www.triathlonmalta.org. On Monday 15 September a race registration and race briefing event will be held. For more information, one can reach the federation on its hotline 7903 7933.
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