German triathlete Michael Raelert and Denmark’s Helle Frederiksen won their respective men’s and women’s professional categories in the first-ever Challenge Bahrain Triathlon Championship yesterday as both winners pocketed $100,000 each in prize money out of a total purse of $500,000.

The championship was held under the patronage of Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, with more than 1,000 athletes from Bahrain and around the world including world champions in the fray.

It started to compete at Bahrain Bay with a swim of 1.9km, followed by 90km of cycling and concluding with 21.1km running.

Raelert finished (3 hours, 36 minutes 4 seconds) after completing all three stages and was followed into second place by compatriot Andres Dreitz (3:38.23), while Australian Tim Reed (3:39.26) in third place.

Raelert had the fastest time in all the three legs after completing the swimming stage (21:16 minutes), cycling (2:01.40) and the run (1:10.19).

Dreitz completed the swim (22:45), cycling (1:57.21) and the run (1:15.02), while Reed’s split times were (22:17), the bike ride (2:02:00) and the run (1:12.04).

The significant point in the race came when Raelert took over the lead after closing the gap on Dreitz over the preceding four or five kilometres during the run in Al Areen.

“It was a great race and once I overtook Andreas around the 14-15km mark on the run, I knew I had to keep going and my motivation levels increased. I’m happy with my performance and have had a great time here in Bahrain with the superb hospitality we have received all round,” said Raelert.

In the women’s category, Frederiksen won the race in (3 hours 55 minutes 50 seconds, followed by Britain’s Rachel Joyce (3:58.15) and in third was a fellow Briton Jodie Swallow (3:58.).

Frederiksen’s split times were (23:04) for the swim, (2:12.33) for the cycling and the run (1:17.00).

Second-placed Joyce started with (23:10) for the swim, (2:12.30) in the cycling and (1:19.22) for the running, while Swallow’s split times were (23:39) for the swim, cycling (2:12.58) and completing the run (1:19.44).

The women’s race was fiercely competitive with Swallow and Australia’s Annabel Luxford the leading pair after finishing the cycling and taking on the final running leg.

Around (3:10) Frederiksen opened up a lead on Swallow and not long after Joyce made her move and moved into second place behind the Danish runner.

“Winning Challenge Bahrain is my world championship of the season, I’m pleased with my effort and kept going when I was challenging Jody and Rachel. I’m pleased with the win though it was a bit surreal running in the wildlife park when an ostrich suddenly appeared to cross the road. Very happy being in Bahrain and the ladies have been treated like queens during our stay,” said Frederiksen.

Meanwhile, the organising committee confirmed that 20 million visitors have visited the official website of the “Challenge Bahrain” championship.

Results (name, country, time): 

Top 10 Professional Men: 1 Michael Raelert (GER, 3:36.04), 2 Andreas Dreitz (GER, 3:38.28), 3 Tim Reed (AUS, 3:39.26), 4 Tim Don (GBR, 3:41.06), 5 Eneko Llanos (ESP, 3:42.04), 6 James Cunnama (RSA, 3:44.29), 7 Jeff Symonds (CAN, 3:44.55), 8 Massimo Agano (ITA, 3:45.40), 9 Luke Bell (AUS, 3:46.24), 10 Tim Van Berkel (AUS, 3:47.01).

Top 10 Professional Women: 1 Helle Frederiksen (DEN, 3:55.50), 2 Rachel Joyce (GBR, 3:58.15), 3 Jodie Swallow (GBR, 3:58.39), 4 Annabel Luxford (AUS, 4:00.17), 5 Angela Naeth (CAN, 4:00.48), 6 Mel Hauschildt (AUS, 4:02.31), 7 Caroline Steffan (SUI, 4:05.21), 8 Jodie Stimpson (GBR, 4:05.51), 9 Camilla Pederson (DEN, 4:06.29), 10 Meredith Kessler (US, 4:12.56).


Aidan Payne


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