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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