Monday, November 12, 2007

World champs Vansteelant and Csomor stamp their marks

SERI MANJUNG: The world champions proved too strong for the rest of the field in the Malakoff Powerman Malaysia 2007 in Seri Manjung yesterday.

The world number one male duathlete, Joerie Vansteelant of Belgium, and the top female, Erika Csomor of Hungary, dominated the 11km run-64km cycling-10km run event from start to finish.

Their efforts were worth US$5,000 each.

Vansteelant, who was the runner-up to his late brother, Benny, last year, fulfilled his determination to keep the title in the family by setting a new record of 2'39:49 – a good five minutes ahead of the pack.

“My thoughts were on Benny during the second half of the race and I just gave it all I had. The crowd were really supportive and I found a final burst of speed,” he said.

Dutchman Armand van der Smissen finished second in 2'45:14 and Canadian Luke Dragstra was third in 2'45:49.

Crispine Onyango (002) leads eventual winner Joerie Vansteelant (001), Ryan Mendoza (013) and Rob Woestenborghs (012) during the first 11km run leg.

World Champion Vansteelant crosses the finish line.

Malaysia’s Shahrom Abdullah and Wong Ah Thiam finished seventh and eighth respectively in 3'00:08 and 3'11:53.

“This year’s course is much tougher than last year but I’m happy to have bettered my placing from ninth to seventh,” said Shahrom, a member of the Malaysian duathlon squad for the Korat SEA Games next month.

The women’s race was more closely fought and defending champion Csomor's decision to come early to prepare paid off handsomely – winning the race in 3'07:39.

“I know that the heat can be my biggest problem and I got in more training in local weather. The field was tough but the others did not have the advantage of training here,” said the Hungarian.

Michelle Parsons of Britain was second in 3'09:09 followed by Hungarian Reka Brassay in 3'11:31. It was a repeat of last year's finishing order.

Malaysia’s Mariana Mohamad, also a member of the SEA Games squad, finished fourth in 3'23:51.

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