Danica Bonello Spiteri (St. Patrick's A.C.) and Keith Galea (B' Kara St. Joseph S.C.) confirmed their adaptation to any kind of multisport event when they claimed the top honours in the National Aquathlon Championship, organised by the Malta Triathlon Federation in Marsaxlokk.
The National Aquathlon Championship was raced on the Standard Aquathlon distances, that is 2.5KM run, a 1000 metre swim and finishes of in a 2.5KM run.
A total of 56 triathletes took part in the race, making it a record for this particular event in the multisport season.
In the Male category, it was Keith Galea who went out full throttle since the very instances, and covered Run 1 in just 8:36, followed by Steve Chetcuti, Fabio Spiteri and youngster Shaun Galea. But it was in the swim where Galea build up his fort and he put almost a minute between him and follower Graham Borg. Galea went strong all the way and finished unchallenged in a time of 33 minutes 52 seconds, a 48 seconds improvement over last year's performance over the same course.Borg held tight to his second place, improving his overall standing from last year, while Chetcuti finished in a very positive third place to complete the podium standings.
In the Female Category, Margaret Seguna entered Transition 1 in first place, trailing behind her Bonello Spiteri, Michelle Vella Wood and Hannah Pace. Bonello Spiteri's prowess in the swimming segment gave her the lead and her last finish home confirmed her as the winner with an almost 2 minutes improvement over last year. Margaret held on to her second place overall as she did last year, while Pace obtained the third step on the podium.
In the Age Category, it was Shaun Galea and Nina Zammit who won the Youth Under 23 Years Category, while Fabio Spiteri trumped the Over 40 Years bracket. Senior Categories of the Over 50 Years was claimed by Suzanne Farrugia and Gaetano Catania.
The race had an emotional moment when James Cutajar, who was a victim of a very serious cycling accidents a couple of months returned to competitive racing and crossed the finish line, with friends and other fellow athletes cheering him and welcoming him back to triathlon family.
This was the second National Multisport Championship organised by the Malta Triathlon Federation for the season, which will be concluded by the Grand Finale National Triathlon Championships on 11 October in Mellieha.
The Malta Triathlon Federation express its gratitude to all volunteers, helpers, and marshals, as well as to Simons Farsons Cisk plc, suppliers of San Michel and Gatorade, Go&Fun Malta, Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club, Joseph F. Spiteri & Co (1927) Ltd., the Marsaxlokk and Birzebbuga Local Councils, Transport Malta and the Malta Police Force for their support and assistance.
It was a case of the new and the old at the National X-Triathlon Championship which were held recently, which saw the crowning of Danica Bonello Spiteri at her 19th overall Multisport National title in a carreer spanning 2 decades, while it was the first National Title for Shaun Galea, the 17-year old wonderboy of Traithlon in Malta.
The stage for this demanding and technical race was Xaghjra and trails around Żonqor, ta' Barkat and in-Nwadar, in very hot and sticky weather conditions. The organisation of the race was entrusted to Agones Sports Club under the auspices of the Malta Triathlon Federation.
The race was dominated by Danica Bonello Spiteri who not only finished first from the ladies, but also first overall. From the swimming segment, Danica went ahead of the field by placing the best swimming time from all athletes and hold on tightly notwithstanding the margin of comfort on the her nearest female rivals, to finish it off in a time of 1 hour, 33 minutes and 3 seconds. Elizabeth Jane Grima was second and Lara Buttigieg was third on the female podium.
In the males category, there was more drama unfolding. Shaun Galea who exited the water just behind Danica, tried to fend off the challenge of Justin Gauci on the bike, with Gauci placing the fastest bike split of the day in 53 minutes and 34 seconds. In the last part of the bike course, Galea suffered a mechanical problem and Gauci was second at Transition Two. However, a stronger run by Galea saw him edging it out over Gauci to win his first National Triathlon Championship in a time odf 1 hour, 34 minutes and 4 seconds. Justin Gauci finished second and Steve Chetcuti claiming the lowest side of the podium.
Speaking just after the finish, Danica seemed jubiliant about her yet another national title and congratulated Shaun on his first topping of his carrier. Shaun, on the other side said he was humbled by the outcome and had words of praise for this opponents as well as for Danica. Both mentioned that mental and mechanical preparation for such races was even more important than road-triathlon and they said that the course chosen for the race was challenging yet fun.
Malta Triathlon President, Cyprian Dalli congratulated both athletes and all the partecipants. He expressed the gratitude of the M.T.F. for the organisers of the event, Agones Sports Club, Club director Warren Muscat and Race Director Ruben Degiorgio. Dalli mentioned that this is in line with the vision of the MTF to have all affiliated members of the Federation organising multisport races throughout the season. He congratulated all the partecipants and expressed his admiration to all athletes who braved the heat, humidy and and challenging course on the day. He also thanked Mark Gaglione of Medcomms Malta, local agents for Garmin, for his support to the race and to the MTF in general all throughout the season.
The coming weeks will be particularly busy for Triathlon in Malta as on Sunday 13 September, the National Championships of the Sprint Distance will be held in Birzebbuga and organised by Birkirkara St. Joseph Sport Club. On the 20 September, the MTF will organised the National Triathlon Aquathlon Championships (Run-Swim-Run) in Marsaxlokk, while the Grand Finale wil lbe held in Marfa and Mellieħa on 11 October for the National Triathlon Championships.
More information on these events and on Triathlon in Malta in general can be obtained through the MTF's website www.triathlonmalta.org or by calling 79037933.
The Malta Triathlon Federation has noted with satisfaction the completion of another successful summer of its children and youth nursery, the Malta Youth Triathlon Academy - MYTA.
MYTA has been established in the Summer of 2013 following a development project through the European Triathlon Union (ETU). Upon its foundation, the MYTA has immediately found the priceless support of the Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport (KMS) which offered its training facilities and its coaching structures and has been of great assistance ever since. In fact, the MYTA training sessions has been part of the KMS programmes of SkolaSport and Summer On The Move ever since.
From humble beginnings of just a handful of young athletes, MYTA has developed into a veritable nursery of talented young triathletes between 6 years and 16 years. Currently there are around 60 young athletes on the books and over 100 athletes who have trained with the Academy in the past 3 years. The children and youths are now divided into 2 groups, with one group geared more towards performance and another group with more basic training. All children train 3 times a week, 2 hours each time, at the KMS facilities at Kirkop Sports Complex and the National Pool Complex.
Coaching is one crucial part of the programme and the MYTA is coordinated by the National Triathlon Coach, Dermot Galea. Under his leadership, the MYTA Coaches are certified Triathlon Coaches Matthew Azzopardi and Marthese Fava. Recently two other coaches has been added, Lydon Bonnici and Kelly Busuttil.
Athletes from the MYTA has also had the opportunity to attend International Training Camps organised by the ETU in Croatia, Slovenia, Spain, Lithuania and Hungary. This summer Maltese young triathletes competed for the first time in International Youth Triathlons. In the coming weeks, 4 young triathlets from MYTA Emila Vella, Thomas Woods, Andre Camilleri u Malcolm Vassallo will be forming part of the National School of Sport for the first time.
In order to conclude another successful summer of triathlon, the MYTA will be holding an event on the 18th September in the KMS facility of Kirkop. The event will consist of triathlon races for kids and youths even those not attending MYTA, followed by a medal-giving ceremony. This event is aimed to collect funds for the Malta Community Chest Fund through the Solidarjeta' bl-iSport Campaign.
The Malta Triathlon Federation would like to express its gratitude to the Kunsill Malti ghall-iSport (KMS) and the European Triathlon Union (ETU) who help, guidance and assistance is of vital importance for this project.
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