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.