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 gruelsome 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 rythm 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 an 18 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 strenghts were 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.
More information about triathlon in Malta can be found on the Federation’s page www.triathlonmalta.org.