Gerald Degaetano wins Virtu’ Ferries Manoel Island race

Saturday, April 17, 2010, 18:16

The enthusiastic crowd taking photos at the Sliema seafront early last Sunday morning was not simply out to enjoy the perfect weather. The Malta Canoe Federation once again held its annual Virtu’ Ferries Manoel Island Races, with canoeists of all ages competing in several race categories.

The Races kicked off with the much anticipated 10km, 3-lap race around Manoel Island. Veteran canoeist Gerald Degaetano was the first to cross the finish line in the K1 category, 46m44s after the start. He was followed by Nicki Borg Costanzi, also winner of the female K1 category, who in kept ahead of Peter Borg Costanzi in a closely fought third lap to cross the finish line after 51m40s minutes. Local champion duo Chris Camilleri and Matthew Schembri won this event’s K2 category in style, their stamina and determination carrying them through in spite of their canoe taking on water after the second lap, clocking in at 50m40s.

The 3km single lap event also saw Gerald Degaetano finish in 1st place after 15 minutes 48 seconds, with Chris Borg Costanzi and Simon Gauci crossing the line in 2nd and 3rd place respectively, with only seconds between them. Matthew Schembri shot past his competitors in the 200 metre Senior race to gain 1st place, while Chris Borg Costanzi and Simon Gauci once again battled their way to the finish line in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

This edition of the Manoel Island Races was particularly exciting for the 19 boys from Stella Maris College who participated in a 200 metre sprint for juniors. Three heats with six young paddlers in each were quickly organised, with a final race for the first two in each heat. Benjie Sammut finished first overall with a very respectable 1 minute 19 seconds, followed by Andre Catania and Kyle Mercieca. Future canoeists in the making? They certainly have the necessary competitive spirit!

The trophy presentation ceremony was held after a busy yet satisfying morning, with participation medals given to one and all. A truly memorable event, which will definitely be remembered by all those present.

Special thanks go to Virtu Ferries for sponsoring this successful event, and the Malta Triathlon Association for their invaluable assistance.

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