KEITH GALEA & DANICA BONELLO SPITERI REIGN SUPREME AT THE 'MAGRI CYCLES' MALTA NATIONAL TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015
In the last week of build-up to the 30th Edition if the Malta National Triathlon Championships, it was becoming increasingly certain that there were going to be three protagonists at the race : Keith Galea, vying to claim his 5th National Triathlon title, Danica Bonello Spiteri focused to gain her 13th National Triathlon crown, and the Force 6 North West wind which decided to batter the island the weekend of the most eagerly-awaited multisport race of the season!
The race organisers in fact had to restore to some serious lateral, fast thinking processes in order to curtail the swim segment of the race due to the violent waves and strong winds hitting the race venue, and a last minute decision was taken to safeguard the safety of all almost 100-strong field of athletes.
Standard-Distance : National Championships
Wind or not, there was no though nothing that could stop Bonello Spiteri and Galea from claiming the honours in the Standard (Olympic Distance) Triathlon. Galea was the first athlete out of the choppy waters at L-Għadira tal-Bir bay, with Hannah Pace and Graham Borg following suit. Bonello Spiteri was hot on their heels.
In the bike segment, Graham Borg managed to come close to Galea and they practically entered Transition 2 right together. However a faster transition and his typical formidable run meant Keith Galea (B' Kara St. Joseph SC) ran unchallenged towards his grand slam of all multisport titles this season, with Borg claiming the second spot and Fabio Spiteri finding the cutting edge to obtain third place on the podium.
In the female race, it was soon battle for supremacy between Bonello Spiteri and Pace on the road at l-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa with these two athletes changing top spot. Danica Bonello Spiteri (St. Patrick's AC) was first into Transition 2 and she continued unchallenged to become the most successful female Maltese triathlete ever, with Hannah Pace keeping her place on the second place of the podium as last year. Michelle Vella Wood rode and ran steady to complete the final female triathlon podium of the season.
In the other categories of the Standard Distance, Neil Markham, arriving 4th overall, claimed the Under 23 category, while Kevin Muscat was top of the Over 40 class. In the Over 50, it was Suzanne Farrugia and Raymond Borg who took the honours, while Marian Belsten claimed the Over 60 category.
The Sprint-Distance Triathlon had a very health mix of Maltese and foreign triathletes, however it was the home athletes who topped the race. In the female race, it was Lara Buttigieg who raced what was probably the best race in her triathlon career to take first place, with Nina Zammit at second place. Third place overall went to Michelle Scott (GBR).
Youngster Shaun Galea confirmed his exceptional moment when he won the race ahead of much seasoned athletes. James Cuschieri confirmed all his potential and was second behind Galea, while Glen Zammit, who raced Ironman Barcelona the weekend before showed remarkable flexibility by finishing third.
The Age Categories of the Sprint Distance were bravely fought and finally won by Mattea Grech and Matthaeus Sciberras in the Under 23 field, Lucy Cutler (GBR) and Kelvin Goodwin in the Over 40 class, and Roberto Agostini (ITA) in the Over 50 group. A token memento was also awarded to 82-year old Malc Bennett (GBR).
Trophies to all the winners were presented immediately after the race by Mr Julian Pace Bonello, President of Malta Olympic Committee, Mr Mark Cutajar, acting CEO of Sport Malta (Kunsill Malti għall-iSport) and by Mr Mario Micallef, Director of Sport at the Maltese Olympic Committee.
The race was organised by the Malta Triathlon Federation and supported by Magri Cycles of Mosta, whose assistance made the race possible. The organisation of the race relied heavily of the support of B'Kara St. Joseph Sport Club and Joseph F. Spiteri & Co. (1927) Ltd.
The MTF is also highly appreciative for the support received from the Mellieħa Local Council, the Malta Police Force, Transport Malta, NM Arrigo Ltd., Perskindol Malta, VJ Salomone (Marketing) Ltd., J. Calleja Caterers & Wholesalers Ltd., King Shoe Shops, Ecco Shoes Malta, Go & Fun Green Energy Drink - Malta, the Farsons Group, and all the marshals, volunteers, and race personnel who battled the adverse weather conditions for some four full hours to ensure the best racing experience for all athletes.
Photos courtesy of Angie Conti
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