HISTORIC 2019 IRONMAN MALAYSIA SEES BIGGEST EVER PARTICIPATION IN LANGKAWI
As the curtain falls on another spectacular edition of Ironman Malaysia 2019 on the idyllic Langkawi Island, courtesy of Ironman Malaysia, we look back at some of the many race highlights for the participating professional, as well as the brave amateur Triathletes.
Every year, Ironman Malaysia is getting progressively better, and this prestigious international triathlon is making Langkawi even more famous than it already is. However, don’t be surprised if in the near future that Ironman will also be inversely known by their association with Langkawi too! After all, nothing attracts top Triathletes moee than the perfect combination of a tough course set amidst a paradise island backdrop…
- Multi Triathlon World Champion Javier Gomez (ESP) sets a new course record
- Age Grouper Maki Nishioka was the fastest female athlete at the event
- Celebrities Alif Satar and Khairy Jamaluddin add glamour to spectacle
- 15 Malaysians get qualifying slot for 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship
KUALA LUMPUR (6 November 2019): The 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia shattered records of all sorts in Langkawi, and will long be remembered as one of the most memorable events to take place since its inauguration in 2000.
Spain’s Javier Gomez cemented his status as arguably the best triathlete of all time after shattering the course record to finish in a stunning 8:18:58, taking over the previous record set by Frenchman Romain Guillaume (8:32:54) in 2017.
Philipp Koutny (Switzerland) came in second at 8:24:18, followed by Thiago Vinhal (Brazil) at 8:31:15.
After his win, Gomez said winning in Malaysia sets him up nicely to prepare for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. “I raced well in the heat which is important to me. The conditions here is a good learning experience. Now it’s time to take a break and rest for the offseason. I will prepare for Tokyo after that,” he said.
In her first year as a professional athlete, Tessa Kortekaas from the Netherlands clinched the title for the 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia Professional Female category with the timing of 9:43:19. “It’s not easy, not many professionals will reach this goal in the first year. I cannot believe it, I have no words,” said the former age-grouper world champion.
Naomi Washizy (Japan) crossed the finish line second at 9:52.00, followed closely behind by Simona Krovankova (Czech Republic) at 9:59:27.
Gutsy Maki Nishioka is the fastest female athlete on the course
Gomez was not the only record breaker in Langkawi, as Japan’s Maki Nishioka became the fastest female on the course after completing the race in 9:37:46.
Nishioka’s time surpassed Female Pro Tessa Kortekaas’ winning time of 9:43:20 in the women’s elite category, and the diminutive age-grouper is now ready to turn professional, after she outdid the pros.
“It was tough, but I just kept pushing through, and I have to thank my friends for their continuous support. After this I want to focus on training to become a professional IRONMAN,” said Nishioka.
Biggest ever IRONMAN Malaysia
The 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia saw the biggest ever participation in the history of the event in Malaysia, with over 2,500 participants registering.
Malaysia recorded the highest number of participants with over 910 triathletes which made up 35.5% of the total entries. Japanese participants were second (11%), followed by Singapore (6.5%) and Indonesia (5.1%).
The 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia and IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi would not have been possible without the help of 1,500 volunteers, who worked tirelessly throughout the course.
There was a total of 135 slots for the 2020 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona in Hawaii and the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand, which is the highest number of slots offered in a single venue.
2019 IRONMAN Malaysia offered 50 qualifying slots to top athletes across the age-groupers category which were announced in a roll down ceremony the morning after the race.
Whereas the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi event offered 60 qualifying slots, plus an additional 25 slots specially for top finishing female athletes to the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship, as part of Women for Tri, a programme under the IRONMAN Foundation to welcome and empower new female triathletes to be a part of the sport’s continued growth in high-level competition.
A total of 15 Malaysians claimed their spot at the 2020 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship and will be making their way to Taupo, New Zealand next November. This is a testament to the extraordinary progress made by the local athletes in the sport.
Women for Tri & IRONKIDs hyped up pre-race atmosphere
There was camaraderie and emotions running high at the Women for Tri panel discussion as five strong women shared their personal journey leading up to 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia and IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi.
Katie Kyme, Amelia Shelton, Nur Zarina, Christine Loh and Cheryl Tay all had endured various challenges – including diagnosed with brain cancer and self-inflicted injury – but overcame them successfully to become women of lionhearts.
They awed the audience with their tales, and their bond only seemed to intensify the atmosphere leading up to race day.
IRONKIDS also proved a successful event, with the participation of 245 kids across two age groups (4-10 & 11-17) in the Aquathlon and Community Run. The Aquathlon event, which featured the first open water swim event had 4-10 years old participating in the 50m swim followed by 1.8km run, and the 11-17 years old participating in the 100m swim and finishing with a 3.6km run. The Community Run were 1.8km and 3.6km distances for the 4-10 years old and 11-17 years old respectively.
Shahrom & Nursya finish as Best Malaysians
Shahrom Abdullah was Malaysia’s best Finisher with a time of 10:56:06, and the businessman was pleased with his time. “It’s good for my profile for sure, being a bicycle business owner. My aim next will be to compete at more IRONMAN events,” said Shahrom.
Nursya was crowned the best Malaysian female athlete after she finished in 14:02:45.
“I want to continue to chase my target, and at the same time inspire more women to get involved in this extreme sport. The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit. Work hard, be kind and amazing things will happen,” said Nursya.
The Best Langkawian went to Muhd Hafiz Md Yusup, who finished with a time of 11:37:13.
Alif Satar & Khairy Jamaludin proud finishers
There was celebrity presence in Langkawi too, and popular host and singer Alif Satar was one of them. The 29-year-old, who was competing in his first IRONMAN race finished in 15:06:50 with a huge grin on his face.
Former Sports Minister Khairy also did well to finish the 70.3 in 7:00:24, and he was crowned with the Finisher’s medal by his mom.
To the best of my knowledge, all of the information provided herein is accurate at the time of publishing and the views expressed are based on my own personal opinions and findings, and they don’t necessarily reflect the views of the Product Manufacturer, Event Organiser or any Third Party unless explicitly specified otherwise.
About The Author
Gus Ghani is the Founder of Running Toons and Virtual Sports ; a HIIT Fitness Coach, and Magazine Columnist. He has contributed numerous insightful articles to The Star newspaper, Running Malaysia Magazine, and Cycling Malaysia Magazine. LIKE Happy Runner for RUNNING UPDATES, Gus Rider for CYCLING NEWS, Gus Ghani for SPORTS INFOTAINMENT and FOLLOW gusghani @IG for LIFESTYLE.
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