Bahrain Endurance took the top spots at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee with master class wins from Daniela Ryf and Javier Gomez.
Ryf made history on Saturday by becoming the first female to win an Ironman 70.3 world championship three times. The Swiss speedster in racing red had shaken off the injury that plagued her early season, and was in a class of her own throughout the race. After exiting the water in sixth place a minute back from the front, she took charge on Chattanooga’s hilly bike course. With a six-minute lead by the finish, her win was never in doubt.
The Sunday men’s race was a closer one with Gomez exiting the water and getting off the bike second to Ben Kanute, with the rest of the field in a distant chase group. But the five-time ITU world champion’s run is his strength; Gomez put on the afterburners to take his second Ironman 70.3 world championship.
His Majesty the King’s representative for Charity Works and Youth Affairs, Supreme Council for Youth and Sports chairman and Bahrain Olympic Committee president Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa finished 27th among 3,000 contestants.
Shaikh Nasser completed all stages of the race clocking 4:27:21 hours with the three stage results being: swimming a distance of 1.93 km in 31:30 minutes, cycling for 90.1 km in 2: 22 hours and running a distance of 21.1 km in 1:28 hours.
Shaikh Nasser dedicated his achievement to His Majesty King Hamad, expressing his gratitude and appreciation for His Majesty’s support and patronage.
Bahraini contestant Mohammed Al Ghais finished the race in 4:52 hours, swimming 36:19 minutes, cycling 2:37 hours, running 1:31 hours.
Supported by Shaikh Nasser, a number of Bahraini contestants participated in the race individually. Their results were: Khalid Buallay – 05:05 hours, Jassim Al Bastaki – 05:47 hours, and Hamad Al Mansouri – 05:30 hours.
Both Ryf and Gomez are in the running to win the Nasser Bin Hamad Triple Crown series, which awards a bonus of one million dollars apiece to the athletes who win three races: Ironman 70.3 Dubai, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, and the Ironman 70.3 Middle East Championship. With the two athletes having ticked off the first two titles this year, all eyes will be on their performance in Bahrain in December.
However, their focus will first have to be on the world championships ahead of them: Gomez will attempt to back up from this win at the World Triathlon Series final next week in Rotterdam, while Ryf makes the finishing touches on her build towards the Ironman World Championship next month in Kona.
Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman and Bahrain Athletics Association president Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa congratulated His Majesty King Hamad on the occasion of Bahrain Endurance Team’s victory.
Shaikh Khalid also congratulated His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Premier, Shaikh Nasser and the people of Bahrain.