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Keith Galea and Danica Bonello Spiteri reclaim national titles

Veteran triathletes Keith Galea and Danica Bonello Spiteri were back on the winners’ podium when they won the national titles in a race that was marked with inclement weather conditions. 

The Eurosport Garmin National Triathlon Championships, hosted by the Malta Triathlon Federation, got off to a gloomy start on Sunday morning. 

With the 1,500m swim leg delayed due to a thunderstorm that hit Salina just before the start, the race got underway approximately 15 minutes late when the storm subsided and was deemed safe to start proceedings.

With last year’s winners Rudolph Agius and Hannah Cutajar out of the fray, favourites for the title were triathletes Keith Galea, Josef Bonavia, and Joe Galea.

Bonello Spiteri, multiple winner of previous editions, was a clear favourite though Lara Buttigieg was ready to put a fight. 

Keith Galea was first out of the water, setting up a comfortable gap, of over three minutes as he set off on the 40km route. 

Keen to minimise Galea’s advantage Bonavia and Galea put in motion their well-known strength on the bike. 

Despite their efforts, with Bonavia registering the fastest bike split, Galea maintained the gap as he proceeded to complete the 10km run. 

With a championship title in sight, Galea maintained a composed performance to cross the finish line ahead of Bonavia and Galea who finished the race in second and third place respectively.

Meanwhile, Bonello Spiteri asserted her position in front of the ladies’ pack, exiting the water with a comfortable lead over Buttigieg.  In third place was Krista Kuusijarvi.

These placings were retained throughout the rest of the race, with Bonello Spiteri putting a gritty performance to win ahead of Buttigieg.

This was Bonello Spiteri’s 15th national title, spanning a career of 25 years.

The race also saw a number of relay teams taking part including a team made up of the federation president John Vella, secretary general Warren Muscat and board member Michelle Vella Wood.

“The Malta Triathlon Federation congratulates Keith Galea and Danica Bonello Spiteri for their win on Sunday,” John Vella, president of the Malta Triathlon Federation said.

“The race conditions for Eurosport Garmin National Triathlon Championships were taxing yet the inclement conditions did not put off competitors’ determination to produce a good result – regardless of a few crashes, due to the wet roads.

“Just enough drama to close off the 2021 season with a bang.”

President Vella concluded his remarks by thanking all those involved in the organisation of the event, particularly Garmin Malta, Eurosport, Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club, ARRTS Timing, Transport Malta, Malta Bike Marshalls, and Naxxar Local Council.

RESULTS

MEN

1. Keith Galea 2:08.24; 2. Josef Bonavia 2:08.42; 3. Joe Galea 2:09.46.

WOMEN

1. Danica Bonello Spiteri 2:18.02; 2. Lara Buttigieg 2:22.28; 3. Krista Kuusijarvi 2:28.31.

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