Tight podium finish for Bonello Spiteri at Leeds triathlon

Monday, September 26, 2011, 22:44

A pleasant summer day greeted the 300 athletes on the start line for the Leeds Olympic Triathlon, which also was the race for the Yorkshire and Humber triathlon championship. Two seasoned Maltese athletes, Mark Zammit and Danica Bonello Spiteri, along with rookie Margaret Seguna started off in the Roundhay Park Lake for the 1,500m wetsuit swim.

Zammit demonstrated his talent and strength in the swim section by exiting the water in first position (19min 33sec), quickly leaving the transition onto the bike section. The 44km bike section was a very challenging in and out course, of which the return section was undulating hills with a headwind all throughout, giving the athletes no respite. Zammit was unable to maintain the hard pace on the bike, and dropped back to 11th place by the end of the bike section, however he put in a very strong 10km run, finishing the triathlon in 12thplace overall, and 2nd in his age group, with an overall time of 2hr 17min 41seconds.

In the female section, Bonello Spiteri was third out of the water in the women’s section with a 23 minute swim, whilst Seguna in 10thplace. Bonello Spiteri hammered down the bike course, working hard on the hills and caught up the race favourite, Liz Spencer,by the end of the bike course. This lead them to starting the 3 lap run course head to head.  In the second lap of the undulating run course, the steep hill was where Bonello Spiteri attacked and broke away from Spencer and kept on going ahead to cruise to a second place overall and winning her age category in 2hr 26min 50 seconds.  Seguna also performed well in her first ever Olympic distance triathlon, finishing 19th overall and 4th in her age group in 3hrs 00min 48seconds.

Bonello Spiteri was elated at the race result. ‘I only learnt I was in 2nd place at the end of the race, because  I would not know what race position I am in during the race, since there are so many athletes on the course. I just concentrate on my race. I am satisfied at having finished just 24seconds behind the overall winner, and I am surprised at having the fastest overall run time!’

Seguna was also happy with her result, and is looking forward to the Malta National Triathlon Championships, where she hopes to improve on her performance. ‘This race really helped me to gain experience on foreign soil, and I absolutely enjoyed the experience’.

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