Maltese triathletes strike gold in Liechtenstein

Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 18:11

Malta obtained a gold medal in the Team Event of the 11th Edition of the Triathlon Championships of the Small States of Europe held for the first time in the Principality of Liechtenstein last Saturday 21st August.

At the same Championships, but this time in the Individual Race held on Sunday, Mark Zammit and Dermot Galea won Silver and Bronze respectively, while Danica Bonello Spiteri and Johanna Calleja could only manage 5th and 8th place in the Women’s Category.

It was a glorious day for Team Malta when 7 Teams from Liechtenstein (2), Luxembourg (2), Cyprus (1), San Marino (1) and Malta (1) lined up for the start of the Team Event which consisted of Swim: 200m; Bike: 2km and Run: 1km. Each Team was composed of 3 athletes, with the middle athlete being a woman, and each athlete had to perform the whole Race before tagging his/her partner. The Maltese Team, consisting of Mark Zammit, Danica Bonello Spiteri and Dermot Galea, won the event in an overall time of 36m:41s, just 19 seconds ahead of second placed Luxembourg and 1m:32s ahead of 3rd placed Liechtenstein.

The next day, Sunday, the Individual Race was held. This consisted of a Sprint Distance (Swim: 750m; Bike: 20km and Run: 5km). Here, a 14 year old wonder from Luxembourg, Max Biewer, managed to win the Race in a time of 59m:17s, with our Mark Zammit coming second in 1hr:00m:43s and Dermot Galea finishing 3rd in 1hr:01m:27s.

Although in past editions of these Championships, both Mark Zammit and Dermot Galea have graced the Silver Podium, this was the first time that 2 Maltese athletes occupied 2 of the 3 podium places available – the gold medal in the Men’s category, remains, however, elusive.

The Women’s Category proved to be a very hard race for our 2 athletes Danica Bonello Spiteri and Johanna Calleja. In previous editions, Bonello Spiteri has won all 3 medals, with her most recent success being the gold medal she won at the 2009 TCSSE held in Malta last year.

The Race here was won by Nicole Klingler from Liechtenstein, a former U23 European Duathlon Champion and a bronze medalist in the 2008 Long Distance Triathlon European Championship. Her finish time was 1hr:05m:37s. In second place was San Marino’s Melissa Mularoni (1hr:07m:29s) and in 3rd place was Diane Chelius (Luxembourg) in 1hr:08m:03s. It is interesting to note that Diane Chelius won the first 2 editions of these Championships which were held here in Malta in 2000 and 2001.

Danica Bonello Spiteri could only manage 5th place in a time of 1hr:11m:19s, just 4 seconds behind 4th placed Myriam Reuland from Luxembourg who in last year’s edition finished 3rd behind our athletes Danica Bonello Spiteri and Michelle Wood.

Despite the fact that Johanna Calleja was experiencing her first international Race, she still managed a creditable 8th placing, finishing the Race in 1hr:17m:20seconds, which is a personal best for her.

Malta’s participation in these Championships was made possible thanks to the Maltese Olympic Committee and Air Malta.

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