Positive Results for Triathlon Malta at the European Triathlon Championships 2017 - Hannah Pace wins 2 Bronze Medals
It was the fifth consecutive year of participation in the European Triathlon Championships by athletes from the Malta Triathlon Federation. The Federation has made these championships a contact appointment on each season’s international calendar and the tally of positive results and medals were once again increased during this years’ competitions.
For the first time, the European Triathlon Union opted for two different championships at two different venues in successive weekends. The Standard (Olympic) distance Triathlon Championships were held in Kitzbuhel, Austria, while the Sprint distance Championships was held the following weekend in Dusseldorf, Germany.
For the Maltese colours, it was the current Malta Champion Hannah Pace who managed the best results as she claimed a Bronze medal in each of the championships in her age-category. In Kitzbuhel, Pace challenged for the win until the very end of the race, where only a sprint finish separated the top three females in the category. This left Pace disappointed just after the race, however the Bronze medal and her fighting spirit took over and she went over to Germany the following week to claim another prestigious third place among some of the finest female triathletes on the continent.
These latest 2 medals brings Pace’s personal tally of European Triathlon Championships to an impressive 6 medals in 4 years. Her first outing at the European stage was in Alanya, Turkey in 2013, where she won Gold in the Standard. Two years later she won the Bronze in the Sprint Championship in Geneva, Switzerland while last year it was a double Silver medal for her in both the Standard and the Sprint in Lisbon, Portugal.
Just after the races, Pace reported that ‘It is always a great feeling to take part in these European Championships as the atmosphere is amazing! All along the routes you receive support form the spectators and you are racing side by side with athletes from all over the continent. The leading-up to this season had some setbacks, but I am very happy that I managed to be on the podium in both championships again and making my country proud’.
Cyprian Dalli, President of the Malta Triathlon Federation expressed his congratulations to Hannah Pace and the rest of the Maltese Team in the championships. He thanked the Maltese Olympic Committee for the funding towards the Federation which made these participations possible and also the European Triathlon Union for holding such electrifying continental Championships.
The rest of the team had some very positive results as well. National Champion Keith Galea ended his race in the Standard Distance in a very creditable 6th place while Michelle Vella Wood finished in a prestigious 7th place in her category. Also competing in the Standard Distance were Maltese Triathletes Suzanne Farrugia and Maria Vella-Galea.
The next international appointment for the Malta Triathlon Federation will be this weekend where Hannah Pace, Keith Galea and David Agius-Lia will be competing in the Mediterranean Triathlon Championships which will be held in the Catalan sea-side resort of Altafulla.
The Malta Triathlon Federation, in its continuous quest to offer the best of possibilities and opportunities to the athletes of the Malta Youth Triathlon Academy - MYTA, has established an agreement with the European Triathlon Union to have its promising athletes attending international youth training camps to improve their level of play. In the past 4 years, there were already 10 different young triathletes who participated in these training camps.
This year is no different as the young 'enfante prodige' of Maltese youth traithlon, Nikol Micallef was joined by MYTA coach Barry Farrugia in an international youth triathlon training camp in Alicante, Spain. This was not the first time for Micallef to attend such a camp as he has already been selected for a similar stage in Tiszaújváros, Hungary last summer. Micallef has been excelling not only in multisport races, but also in the single sport competitions, especially in cycling. During his sessions with the MYTA, Micallef is trained under the attentive eye of Barry Farrugia who is a Level 2 licenced triathlon coach and who is part of the coaching team at the Academy.
Micallef and Farrugia joined a team of around 30 other youth athletes and coaches from all over Europe in the training camp which was held in Alicante, Spain.
Micallef states that 'I was very excited when I learned that I will be attending this camp, and more so that I would be accompanied by my MYTA coach, Barry. My family made sure everything was prepared to perfection for this opportunity. When we arrived in Alicante I was astonished not only with the number of athletes participating but more so with the high-quality of my counterparts. We were training practically three times a day, like professional athletes. We would start the day with a swimming session followed by a run. Then we usually went cycling in the late afternoon. The highlight of the camp was cycling inside a velodrome! It was a dream come true for me!'
On his side, Coach Farrugia remarked that 'it was a great experience having the possibility to coach a splendid group of athletes and sharing the knowledge of triathlon-training with the other coaches. I am truly grateful for the opportunity that the Federation and MYTA gave Nikol and myself, and I looking forward to share all I've learnt to the MYTA athletes in our training sessions'.
The Malta Youth Triathlon Academy - MYTA currently trains 35 athletes of various ages between 7 and 15. Training is done primarily at the Kirkop Sports Complex and the National Pool Complex and athletes have three sessions a week. The MYTA project is supported heavily by SportMalta and is part of the latter's sports-programmes offered in its premises.
MYTA will be once again recruiting new young athletes from 7 years upwards for the summer 2017 programme. More information can be obtained via firstname.lastname@example.org and 79037933, or by visiting the official MYTA facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/MYTAtriMLT
The 29th Edition of the Malta National Duathlon Championship, sponsored by Eurosport Malta, saw the fifth triumph of Keith Galea (the fourth consecutive one) and the first ever Duathlon title for Margaret Spiteri in a very exciting and strongly-fought race.
The Malta Triathlon Federation set up the stage once again at Mtarfa as in 2015, with a tough but scenic route that saw athletes running the first 8 Kms through Mtarfa, Rabat and Mdina, followed by 27 Kms of cycle and a final short and gruelling run of 4 Kms.
In the male race, the defending champion, Keith Galea of B'Kara St. Joseph Sports Club, was determined to keep his title by setting the rhythm which immediately set him afield from competition apart from a group of athletes who was hot on his heels through all Run 1, formed by the Pembroke Athleta trio Shaun Galea, David Agius Lia and Brian Magri together with Spaniard Andres Bernal. The five of them entered Transition One together, with more than a minute over the chasing group. During the cycling segment, Keith Galea pushed hard to open a gap and managed to enter Transition Two with an18 second lead which would see him retaining his title for yet another year in a finish time of 1 hour, 26 minutes and 44 seconds. Under 20 Shaun Galea was second after registering the fastest Run 2 of the day, with Bernal grabbing the last spot on the podium.
In the female race, the battle was on mmainly between Hannah Pace of Pembroke Athleta and Margaret Seguna of Mellieħa A.C. who were both vying for their first every national Duathlon title. Seguna's strengths rested on the two runs while Pace registered the fastest bike segment, but finally it was Seguna who came out victorious in a time of 1 hours 36 minutes and 45 seconds, with Pace grabbing second place and a hard-fighting Michelle Vella Wood in third place.
In the Age Categories, Shaun Galea topped the Under 20 while Neil Markham was first in the Under 23. The Masters Categories saw David Agius Lia, David Cushing, David Galea, Brian Magri and Victor Calvagna topping the Over 35, 40, 45, 45, 50 and 55 categories, while Suzanne Farrugia was first female Over 55.
Through its Malta Youth Triathlon Academy (MYTA), the Malta Triathlon Federation organised a series of 4 races for kids and youths immediately after. These were very well attended with 40 athletes between 6 and 15 years taking part. In Race 1, MYTA athletes Julienne Woods and Max Spiteri Fiteni took the top spots. Isaac Bonnici of Agones SFC and Aurora Gafa' of MYTA won Race 2, while Gabriel Bonnici of Agones SFC and Emilia Galdes of Mosta Cycling Club took the titles in Race 3. In Race 4, for youth aged 14 and 15, it was a double success for MYTA as Nikol Micallef and Maria Schembri finished first.
The races and the championship was sponsored by Eurosport Malta, with whom the MTF has reach an agreementfor partnership and is now recognised as the official apparel provider of the Federation and its teams.
Shortly after the race, Cyprian Dalli, President of Triathlon Malta expressed his satisfaction by stating that 'it was the perfect start for the mutlisport season, with many athletes of all ages, parents, coaches, administrators, volunteers and helpers coming together for the love of sports! This augurs well for our endevours for the rest of the season and for the years to come'.
The Malta Triathlon Federation expressed its gratitude to Eurosport Malta, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Research, Innovation, Youth & Sport, the Local Councils of Mtarfa, Mdina and Rabat, the Malta Police Force, Transport Malta, the Local Enforcement System Agency, the Malta Red Cross, Magri Cycles, San Michel Table Water, Gatorade Sports Drink, Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports club, the ARRTS Electronic Timing System, and all the volunteers, helpers and made this event possible.
The craze for long distance triathlon is a worldwide phenomenon which has taken the multisport world by storm. Triathlon races are in themselves a test of endurance and fitness perhaps unrivalled in modern sports. Long-distance triathlons (branded under names such as Ironman, Challenge and a myriad other twists of the event-titles) are the ultimate feat of tenacity and stamina, which sees an athlete challenging himself to hours of continuous racing at high intensity.
This phenomenon is not something alien in Malta, and no other Maltese athlete epitomises the feats of long-distance triathletes as the Maltese Ironman, Nicky Farrugia.
Farrugia was one of the pioneers of Maltese Triathlon as he started to race in 1988. Farrugia made this move after an impressive career in long-distance swimming which culminated in his legendary swims from Sicily to Malta in 1985 where he successfully completed this feat in 30 hours and 17 minutes and the 1989 crossing of the English Channel in 12 hours and 40 minutes.
In need of a new sporting challenge Nicky took to triathlon where he was dominated the first half of the 1990s by winning the National Duathlon title in 1993, the National Triathlon Championships in 1990, 1992 and 1995 and the title of Triathlete Of The Year in 1991 and 1995.
Following these successful years, Farrugia turned his focus on long distance triathlons. He become the first ever Maltese to race an Ironman triathlon race which consists of a swim of almost 4 kilometres followed with a 180 kilometre bike ride and finished off with a full marathon of 42 kilometres. His first long-distance triathlon in the Netherlands was a trailblazer not just for Farrugia's flare with these races, but also for the local community of triathletes who steadily started to venture into endurance triathlon.
Farrugia's Ironman reputation continued to grow as he became the first Maltese triathlete to go sub 10 hours finish time and also the first Maltese to successfully race a Double-Ironman ultra distance race in the old format which consists of a full iron-distance triathlon done back-to-back after an initial full iron-distance triathlon.
Nicky Farrugia is also the holder of the stunning Maltese record of long-distance triathlons under his belt as he successfully finished his staggering 24th such race only some months ago in Israel, where he capped his performance by claiming second place in his Age Group.
Nicky Farrugia has been recognised as one of the most important Maltese athletes ever and he also received the highest local sporting award when he was crowned as the Sportsman Of The Year in 1989. More recently, Farrugia was inducted in the Maltese Olympic Committee's Hall of Fame.
Nicky has words of praise for the efforts of the Malta Triathlon Federation to raise the level and develop the sport in Malta. 'Triathlon Malta today has done huge improvement from the early years . Of course the beginning was thanks to the first group of people who got it going with very limited resources. However today the Federation has a group of people whom under the helm of President Cyprian Dalli understand the needs of the athletes at all levels. This can be seen in the development programme of children and youths and the establishment of the Malta Youth Triathlon Academy-MYTA. The Federation is keen to encourage more foreign competition by its athletes. The number of affiliated clubs organise high-quality races and this resulted in a huge rise of competitors. I really like the fact that that triathlon is becoming huge and understood more and more in all levels and recognised by the national sporting authorities' states Farrugia, while concluding with a final appeal 'for us who spend a lot of time on our bikes and running on the streets, we tend to be very vulnerable for traffic accidents and bullying. It is important for drivers to keep a watchful eye for us athletes so that we all can share the road safely'
The Malta Triathlon Federation brought to a conclusion an exciting 2016 multisport season with an event to award the topmost athletes ranked in is annual Triathlete Of The Year (TOTY) points scheme. This system aims at awarding all athletes who take part in all the multisport events organised or sanctioned by the Federation during the season by points according to their classification in any given event. This therefore lay a strong emphasise on consistency throughout the season.
The 2016 calendar of multisport events consisted of 13 different events raging from sprint distance triathlons, to aquathlons, to duathlons and culminating in the National Triathlon Championships of last October. The final TOTY classification was rated on the best 9 points for each athlete, making this a hard-fought competition between athletes at all levels.
In the Male category, Keith Galea once again dominated the series by winning the series with a strong margin thus claiming the TOTY title for a record 8 times. In second place was Omar Said, a relative new-comer to the sport who also clinched the the Over 35 top spot. Neil Markham, one of the most promising young triathletes in circulation was close in third place and the overall winner of the Under 23 category.
In the Female list, it was once again Hannah Pace who topped the bill confirm her success in the 2015 TOTY. The second spot on the podium was grabbed by Lara Buttigieg after a very consistent season. Third place was won by the Gozitan Felicienne Mercieca on her second triathlon season.
The TOTY 2016 awards were presented to the first 10 places in each Gender as well as Age-Categories, as follows :
A special award for Outstanding Sportmanship Behaviour was awarded to athlete Mark Lewis who, during the National Duathlon Championships in April, deliberated stopped his race to assist a fellow athlete who had an accident during the cycling segment.
A Life-Time Appreciation award was presented to Dermot Galea for his outstanding contribution to the development of Triathlon in Malta.
Cyprian Dalli, President of the Malta Triathlon Federation, thanked all athletes for making 2016 a year to remember. He said that this year saw more than 200 different athletes taking part in at least one race and this was a huge record for the sport of Triathlon in Malta. He expressed his gratitude to all the members of the Executive Board, the Council and the affiliated clubs for their constant hard work for the benefit of the sport and its athletes.
If you ask any long-distance triathlete what is the ultimate dream, the ultimate goal you will definitely receive the answer that the topmost prize would be qualification for the World Ironman Championship, which takes place in Kona, Hawaii, every year in October.
Even the local triathletes, with their passion for long-distance triathlons, have been allured with the almost-mystical aura that surrounds 'Kona' as it is refered in triathlon-jargon. This sense of elusiveness for this holy-grail in endurance multisport was also nurtured by the face that during the first 25 years of triathlon in Malta no one was able to land the coveted prize : a qualification for the Kona Ironman World Championship. That was until 2013 with Dermot Galea's game-changing qualification. Dermot continued to be the only Maltese athlete to qualify for this topmost triathlon prize, until the recent qualification of David Galea some months ago.
David Galea has been into mutlisport and triathlon for two decades. Two decades of constantly being on the top group of athletes practicing the sport and which saw him winning Triathlon Championships, Duathlon Championships and Triathlete of the Year awards in 1996, 1997 and 2004.
In the last years, Galea set his goal on endurance and long distance triathlons abroad, which was crowned with an improved National Record in the iron-distance (3.8KM swim, 180KM bike and 42.2KM run) established a year ago in Barcelona.
However, Galea remained focused and hungry to make his dream a reality and last July, during Ironman UK he achieved his life-long goal and qualified for the prestigious Ironman World Championships.
The Kona race took place in the 50th America State in the second weekend of October. Galea was representing Malta in the most iconic of triathlon in the world, among other 2315 triathletes from all parts of the globe.
Following the swim, Galea emerged from the water after 1 hour and 6 minutes and in 144th place in his category. The bike segment saw Galea advancing to to 112th place and keeping an average speed of 33.5KM/h for more than 6 and a half hours. Galea seems strong and in control until the last segments of the race and managed to climb to 60th place during the marathon run, concluding his feat at 10 hours and 13 minutes.
soon after the race, David Galea commented about his race by stating : 'I have been racing for alwost thirty years now but this must have been the most amazing experience ever! Qualifiying for Kona has haunted me for a long time and now, being here among the topmost endurance triathletes and taking part in this epic race will be an experience to cheris forever. The weather during the race was very hot and with strong winds, but I was focused and mentally strong even when I had to endure the last 10KM on the bike on a puncture.The support on the course was fantastic and the thought of my family, friends and sponsors kept me going until the finish line.
Galea was aided by his sponsors and supported by the Malta Triathlon Federation and Sport Malta.
It was perhaps the most significant day in the history of Triathlon in Malta that which was lived during the National Triathlon Championship held at the Coast Road on Sunday 2 October 2016. This because the event saw the largest number of athletes ever gathered for a national triathlon championship on the island. In fact, a total of 139 athletes came together for what proved to be an exciting race from start to finish in all categories.
Keith Galea celebrated with yet another National multisport championship his fresh fatherhood just a couple of days before when his wife Elizabeth gave birth to Elise. It was to them that Galea dedicated his 6th National Triathlon crown immediately after the race. But things weren't easy for Galea as he came out of the water at the end of the 1500m swim trailing behind Omar Said and Shaun Galea. Things continued to turn negative for the defending champion who at the start of the bike leg slipped with the bike and lost precious minutes to the leading duo. However, he remained focused and calm and went on the claim the best bike-leg of the day with a time of 1 hour, 2 minutes and 33 seconds, which meant he was at the helm of the race at Transition 2. Fabio Spiteri had a great bike segment to which saw him advance 7 places during the 40KM bike course. During the 10KM final run segment, Galea administered his advantage to claim the 6th National Triathlon title in his career. Spiteri was second notwithstanding he was part of the Over 40 Age category, while Neil Markham, from the Under 23 section claimed the third step of the podium after a strong and consistent race.
In the female race, Hannah Pace started to dominate the race immediately and came out of the water with a 40 second advantage on the second places Margaret Seguna. It was however Michelle Vella Wood who lodged the fastest female bike leg and managed to chop off a good one minute on the leader. However, Pace went on for a strong run and crossed the finish line with more almost 8 minutes advantage. This was Pace's first ever National Triathlon Championship title. Seguna held on to the second place which was commendable seeing that she was plagued with injuries in the past year. Vella Wood managed to claim the third place notwithstanding having suffered on the run.
Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius, MOC President Julian Pace Bonello and MOS Secretary General Joseph Cassar presented the awards to the winners immediately after the race. In the Age-Groups, trophies were awarded to Claire Azzopardi Lane (Over 35), Karen Amato (Over 40), Suzanne Farrugia (Over 50) and Marian Belsten (Over 60) in the Female categories. In the Male groups, it was Shaun Galea (Under 23), Omar Said (Over 35), Nathan Farrugia (Over 40), Kevin Muscat (Over 45), Brian Magri (Over 50), William Brydon (Over 55) and Joseph Cortis (Over 60) who took the honours.
In an ancillary race contest on the Sprint-Triathlon Distance (750m swim, 20KM bike and 5KM run), it was 10-time National Triathlon Champion Dermot Galea who won the Male category, with Kelvin Goodwin in second and Bernard Sant in third place. The Female Sprint Race was won by Claire Davis of the UK, with Charmaine Sciberras and Anjelika Ruggier in second and third place respectively. The Age Categories in the Sprint Distance were claimed by Shaun Demicoli (Under 23), Neil Sorrell and Lucy Cutler (Over 40), Anthony Fenech (Over 50) and Pawlu Brincat (Over 60). The 84-year old Englishman Malc Bennett stole the show as he won the Over 80 category. The winning Sprint-Relay team was composed of runner Lee Galea, cyclist Enrico Bradamante and runner Caroline Thiebosch.
The races were supported for the second year running by Magri Cycles of Mosta, which the Malta Triathlon Federation thanked wholeheartedly after the event. Sports nutrition during the event was provided by Pro-Action Sports Nutrition and massage services for post-race recovery by Perskindol Malta. Electronic timing system was provided by the ARRTS electronic system of Agones S&F Club.
The Malta Triathlon, in a statement, said that this year's National Triathlon Championship took Triathlon in Malta to a whole new level, not only for the record number of athletes participating, but also for the high level of organisation and race-management reached. For this reason, the Federation publicly thanked all the stake-holders involved in the race organisation, mostly Transport Malta, the Malta Police Force and its Traffic Section and all the volunteers who cooperated and ensure a smooth and safe race for all the participants.
The Malta Triathlon Federation would like to inform that, following reports on the National Sprint Triathlon Championship (organised by Birkirkara St. Joseph Sport Club as part of the Sprint Triathlon Series 2016 and under the auspices of the Malta Triathlon Federation), held on Sunday 11 September 2016, the Federation has thoroughly investigated the incidents and has come out with the following decisions :
It is to be noted that all three athletes in question has offered an apology to the Federation, the organising club and to whoever felt aggrieved during the incidents last Sunday.
The Federation continues to encourage the highest level of sportsmanship behaviour during races and in any dealing that has to do with the sport of triathlon, for the benefit of the sporting community and to continue to explore ways to develop, better and uphold the true meaning of sports, at all levels and in all instances.
The 31st Edition of the Malta Triathlon Federation's NATIONAL TRIATHLON CHAMPIONSHIPS will be held on Sunday 2 October 2016, at the Coast Road, Salini.
The Championship race will be held on the Standard (Olympic) Distance, that is 1.5KM swim, 40KM cycle and 10KM run. The Championship race will be held on and individual-only race and it in the non-drafting (draft-illegal) format. This race will carry points for the Triathlete Of The Year Points Scheme.
There will be an ancillary race of the Sprint Distance, that is 750m swim, 20KM cycle and 5KM run. This race is open for relay-teams and is in the non-drafting (draft-illegal) format. This race will carry points for the Triathlete Of The Year Points Scheme.
Races will start at 7:45am on the day.
Registrations can be filled online by clicking on this link : https://goo.gl/forms/5dGnQF0lG8CUgVEb2
Registrations are being accepted until Sunday, 25th September 2016, by 8:00pm CET. No registrations will be accepted after this deadline.
Payment for the race is €50.00 for MTF members and €60.00 for non-MTF members.
An obligatory Race Briefing Session will be held on Friday 30th September at 7:00pm.
In order to be deemed accepted, the registration must be accompanied by payment, either by bank transfer, cheque (addressed to the Malta Triathlon Federation) or cash by the above-mentioned deadline. Payment details are to be found on the Registration Form itself.
Terms and conditions of the race are found on the Registration Form.
The participation of the race is under the Competition Rules of the International Triathlon Union and the European Triathlon Union as amended and conceived by the Malta Triathlon Federation and falls under the Code Of Conduct of the MTF.
Race-timing will be effected through electronic timing system and this service is included in the race registration fee.
Each participant will be entitled for a goody bag which will be distributed during the race-briefing.
All finishers will be awarded a medal with a special design for the championship.
Trophies will be given to the first 3 Male and first 3 Females, as well as the Male & Female winners of the Age-Groups, that is: Under 20, Under 23, Over 40, Over 50, Over 60. Age Category will be based as age as at 31 December 2016.
Together with our partners at ProAction Malta, all those Maltese athletes members of the MTF who will register and pay for the Standard (Olympic) Distance Triathlon by Sunday 11 September, will be entitled to win 2 return flight tickets and race registration at the European Triathlon Championship which will be held in June 2017 in Kitzbuhel, Austria. Terms and Conditions apply.
For more information, kindly contact the MTF on email@example.com or +356 79037933.
We wish you a great racing experience!