Pace and Galea reign supreme at the Malta na­tional cham­pi­onship

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

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 ex­ci­ti­ing 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 Zam­mit (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 84year 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.

Han­nah Pace at the end of her swim - Photo Mark Borg

Keith Galea cel­e­brat­ing his vic­tory - Photo Angie Conti

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