World number one Erika Csomor of Hungary will be back to defend her title in the women's elite category in the Malakoff Powerman Malaysia 2007 Duathlon championships in Lumut on Nov 11.
Csomor clocked 3'06:13 to clinch the crown in Lumut last year. Michelle Parsons of England finished second on 3’07:59 while Reka Brassay of Hungary was third after clocking 3’14:03.
Belgium's world number one Benny Vansteelant won the men's crown last year. He passed away in September following a road accident.
This time, Joerie Vansteelant is the favourite for the men's title. He is the current world number one.
More than 560 participants, including Malaysians, will be vying for honours. A total of RM132,000 in prize money is up for grabs in the various categories.
Shahrom Abdullah and Heidlee Mohamed will be leading Malaysia's challenge in the men's category. Mariana Mohamed, who finished a creditable fifth last year, and Stephanie Chok Kui Eng will be Malaysia's strong challengers in the women's category. All four are preparing for the Korat SEA Games in December.
Shahrom said the race would be an ideal warm-up before the Games.
“There is a lack of competition in the country and the Malakoff Powerman gives me the opportunity to race against the best athletes,” said Shahrom at the launch of the event yesterday.
The duathlon involves an 11km run, a 64km bike race and then another 10km race. There will be three categories contested - individual (11km run-64km bike-10km run), Malakoff Power Relay (11km run-64km bike-10km run) and Malakoff Sprint Duathlon (5.5km run-32km bike-5km run).