Rudolph Agius regains Middle Distance Triathlon crown at Ocean Lava Malta  

Rudolph Agius regains Middle Distance Triathlon crown at Ocean Lava Malta

Anjelika Ruggier seals first championship win.

 

The Ocean Lava Malta triathlon, sanctioned by the Malta Triathlon Federation and designated as the Middle Distance Triathlon Championships saw some class action yesterday on the Salina Coast Road. With the weather gods slightly more in the athletes’ favour when compared to previous years, there were still strong winds that athletes had to battle throughout the 113 kilometre race.

 

The race saw 40 individual athletes and 20 relay teams take part, with the relay teams setting off ten minutes after the individual athletes. 

 

First out of the 1.9km swim was Rudolph Agius (Birkirkara St.Joseph) , a hot favourite to win the race.  Behind him was Mark Schram, a new face on the scene, followed by Joseph Galea (Pembroke Athleta). Both Agius and Galea registered improved times from last year’s race.   A fast transition from Schram saw him exit first for the 90km bike leg but as the race progressed it all boiled down to experience. Galea, who last year registered a sixth place overall was the surprise entry for this year.  Gaining time on the bike, he registered the fastest bike split and entered into the second transition hot on Agius’ heels to set off on the last leg of the race, the half marathon.  In third place was Gozitan Michael Bongailas who also was a favourite contender for a place on the podium.  Agius kept a calm and collected approach to his race, putting into good use his years of experience in this distance to gain an eight minute advantage over Galea and win his fourth middle distance title.  In third place was Michael Bongailas, who beat another favourite, Josef Bonavia to the final place on the winners’ podium.  Fastest run split was registered by Jesrit Camilleri (Birkirkara St. Joseph).

 

“I am very happy to have win my fourth title. This was not an easy race! There were quite a few challenges, not least the strong winds.  I had good competition from Joseph Galea, but nevertheless I was able to pace myself well especially in view of my forthcoming middle distance race in France in the coming weeks” – Rudolph Agius, Male National Middle Distance Champion.

 

The women’s race was a slightly more sedate affair with just five entries.  Anjelika Ruggier was out of the water first, and fourth overall. Noelle Haudenschild was second out of the water but slipped down the ranks as the race progressed.  Ruggier took advantage of the lead obtained in the swim and maintained her first place throughout.  A slow start to the race for Maureen Farrugia. Farrugia, a new comer to the sport of triathon, saw her gain ground in the bike segment for which she registered the second fastest segment time but in the long run it was Karen Amato who picked up the pace on the run to secure a second place on the podium.  Farrugia came in third place. 

 

“Am very satisfied with today’s race, having registered an improvement over last year. Now my focus will be the European Championships which will take place in the coming weeks” Anjelika Ruggier – Female National Middle Distance Champion

 

Individual Distance  Overall Results

 

Placing

Men

Women

1st

Rudolph Agius (Birkirkara St. Joseph)

Anjelika Ruggier

2nd

Joseph Galea (Pembroke Athleta)

Karen Amato

3rd

Michael Bongailas (TriGozo)

Maureen Farrugia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Individual Distance – Age Group Results

 

Age Group

Men

Women

18 – 24

Joseph Xuereb

Noelle Haudenschild

25 – 29

Jeremy Fenech

-

30 - 34

Jesrit Camilleri

Juliya Azzopardi Mazur

35 – 39

Josef Bonavia

-

40 - 44

Stefan Borg

-

45 – 49

Stefan Baluci

-

50 - 54

Kevin Muscat

-

55 – 59

Nicky Farrugia

-

60 - 65

Giovanni Battista Torelli

-

65+

Allan Lawrence

-

 

The race also welcomed back Nicky Farrugia, one of Malta’s veterans who, with Charlie Demanuele, was one of the pioneers of long distance triathlon.  In the fold was 75 year old Allan Lawrence who gave the best example of determination the race has seen in recent years.

 

One could be forgiven for thinking that the Relay Team race would be a less competitive affair however with the likes of Hannah Cutajar, 2018 Middle Distance Champion, Christian Formosa (2018 National Road Race Cycling Champion),  Mark Zammit, Dillon Cassar, Josann Attard Pulis, and Bernard Sant it was definitely going to be a highly competitive affair.   In the end it was the team made up of Hannah Cutajar, Christian Formosa and Dillon Cassar who took top honours.  

 

Relay Team Results

1st Place – The Cyclist (Hannah Cutajar (swim), Christian Formosa (bike), Dillon Cassar (run)

2nd Place – Mosta Tritons (Bernard Sant (swim), Mark Zammit (bike), Josann Attard Pulis (run)

3rd Place – BreLewDes – Kristjan Briffa (Swim), Mark Lewis (bike), Mauro Desira (run)

 

“We are very satisfied with the outcome of this year’s race.  There was some very interesting action, both in the individual and relay competitions, some new faces and some veterans returning to the race fold” explained Charlie Demanuele, Race Director. “We are obviously grateful for the support we receive from the authorities – Transport Malta, Naxxar Local Council and Police as well as Traffic Police who’s sterling work on the day ensures that our athletes are safe. Big thanks also go to volunteers, medical teams, the timing team and of course the Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club team who assist with logistics”.