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Wed 20th Nov 2019
© Triathlon Championships report
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Friday 10th October 2008

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Georgie Rutherford joined a group of British triathletes seeking some end of season sun in Malta last weekend, at the Malta Triathlon Championships, and kindly reported back on what sounds like a great event. The Editor would like to point out that she is far too modest to mention that she won the Sprint race...

The 2008 Triathlon Championships
Sunday 5th October
Salina Bay, Malta

The 15th Malta Triathlon Championships took place on Sunday 5th October in near perfect race conditions. The race, which is organised by the Malta Triathlon Association in partnership with was based on the North coast of the island in Salina Bay and after a few stormy days leading up to the event, competitors woke on race morning to see the usual Malta sunshine had returned. At the 8am start, air temperature was already reaching 20C – bliss for the British competitors who had accepted the invite to take part but cooler for the Maltese who are used to daily temperatures of 40°C during the summer months.

Malcolm BennettCompetitors had the choice of a Sprint or a Standard distance race, with team entrants also being accepted.

The British summer race season might be over but just like elite triathletes, there are many club triathletes who are enjoying extending their race season by escaping to warmer climates. A team of British triathletes from a mixture of triathlon clubs had travelled to Malta to enjoy a long weekend racing and training with the Island's triathlon club, Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club.

Nine British triathletes took part in the different races on offer; four opting for the Standard event (Bill Livingstone - Venom Tri, Chester Harding and Simona Carena - Coventry Triathlon Club and Nicky Juniper). Malcolm Bennett (pictured), from the 1485 Triathlon Club enjoyed the Sprint race and was in fact the oldest competitor in the field, at 75, once again showing the strength of our British age group triathletes. Kate Mcmenamin - Mid Sussex Tri, Steve Mcmenamin, Sharon Carey and Pam Batchelor all from Coventry Triathlon Club teamed up with other Maltese Triathletes to contest in the team races.

The Race

As the Sprint event had a small number of competitors they were started with the Standard distance race. The swim was in the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea and with water temperatures of 24C there certainly was no need for wetsuits. Sprint competitors did a 750m one-lap swim, standard athletes competing for the title of 2008 Triathlon Champion, did a two-lap swim.

The title race for the males was a fierce battle from start to finish between brothers Dermot Galea, chasing his 8th consecutive title, and his younger sibling, Keith Galea (U23). The two lead out the swim, with Luke Bonnici hot on their heels through T1. Bonnici dug deep to try and close the gap on the bike, posting the fastest bike split of the day (1.03.57), and making it an exciting T2 with the three heading out on to the run. The race for the title was not going to be an easy victory with all three pushing the pace over the two lap, 10km run. Bonnici, suffering after his efforts on the bike dropped off the pace leaving the two brothers to fight it out for first and second. Neither Galea brother was going to give up and over the last 500m, with the finish line in site, Dermot gave one last kick to sprint away from his younger brother and retain his title for the 8th consecutive year.

The race for third was still on as Brian Magri stormed his way out of T2 to try and claim the final medal position, catching Bonnici after 6kms. Even though he posted the fastest run split of the day by over three minutes (34.38), he had sadly left his efforts too late to claim the title and finished 3rd.

The women's race saw Danica Spiteri returning to try and also reclaim her title as Malta National Champion. Danica, a Maltese medical student has been gaining experience racing abroad against the best triathletes from around the world and took part in two of the 2007 British Corus Elite series events; Strathclyde & Tredegar, something she found extremely hard due to the freezing British weather conditions.

Danica lead out the swim followed by Nicky Juniper, a British Ironman triathlete from Essex who was taking part in her first Standard distance triathlon for over five years. Juniper's strength on the bike showed as she took the lead and returned to T2 with over a six minute lead. She held this lead comfortably on the run to claim the title. Maltese triathlete Michelle Woods did her best to close Danica down on the bike coming in to T2 only 5 seconds behind, but was unable to hold on over the run, with Danica crossing the line as 2nd overall woman and the 2008 National Champion.

Nicola Juniper wins

The event was superbly organised by the small but dedicated team of volunteers at Malta Triathlon Association; Manuel Azzopardi, Faabienne Azzopardi, Oswald Spiteri, Euchar Camilleri and Mario Bugeja.

Thanks must go to the sponsors, The Plum Tree Restaurant and Kee Klamps. The organisers were thrilled to see such a strong contingent of British triathletes enjoy their event and made everyone feel extremely welcome. The 2009 event will take place in October and the Association are keen to establish stronger links with British Triathlon Clubs who would like to go out and enjoy their 2009 race. For more information visit or the Triathlon Club website

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