Josef Bonavia, Danica Bonello Spiteri win National Duathlon Championships

Birkirkara St. Joseph Sports Club hosted its first commitment on its 2024 Race Calendar when it hosted and organised  the National Standard Duathlon Championships in Fleur-de-Lys.

Consisting of an 8km (3 loops) run, a 30km (12 loops) cycle and a 5km (2 loops) run, the race welcomed a good participation and a strong field of contenders for the title of Duathlon Champion. 

Race favorite Keith Galea surged into the lead from the outset, maintaining a significant gap ahead of contenders Josef Bonavia, Steve Ritchie, and Roberto Briffa during the 8km run. Galea held onto his lead for the majority of the 30km cycling leg, although the trio attempted to close in. Galea’s entrance in transition on the 10th loop, rather than the 12th was a costly mistake. Realising this during the 5km run, Galea returned to complete the full 12 laps. In the meantime, Bonavia, Ritchie, and Briffa capitalized on Galea’s misstep and raced toward the podium positions. Bonavia maintained his grip on first place, fending off Ritchie’s pursuit to cross the finish line just two seconds to spare. Galea, determined to make amends, pushed hard to catch up with Briffa, ultimately overtaking him to secure third place on the podium with a seven-second lead. Briffa, nonetheless gave a valiant performance throughout notably recording the fastest bike segment of the day.

The female category was dominated by Krista Kuusijarvi. She maintained the lead, throughout the whole race, ahead of Danica Bonello Spiteri, Lindsey Zammit and last year’s Champion Maya Schembri Rodgers.   Contention for the third place on the podium was a contest between Zammit and Schembri Rodgers, though Zammit started to widen the gap in the bike segment, resulting in Zammit having the better of last year’s champion.

Since the race was designated as the National Duathlon Standard Distance Championships, the title went to Bonello Spiteri since this is reserved for Maltese Nationals.  The race was held under the auspices of the Malta Triathlon Federation. 

The race attracted a good amount of athletes competing in the relay event. The Relay Event was won by Team H made up of Alexander Schembri (Run) and Nicholas Schembri (Bike), followed by Team B – Mark Lewis (Run), Steve Sciberras (Bike) and Team I – Adrian Zahra (Run), Gesred Borg (Bike).

Trophies to the winners were presented by the Club’s Assistant Secretary General Joseph Farrugia. 

The Club would like to thank Birkirkara Local Council, Transport Malta, LESA and its Race Officials for making the race possible. 

National Duathlon Championships Results

 MalesFemales
Overall  
1stJosef BonaviaKrista Kuusijarvi
2ndSteve RitchieDanica Bonello Spiteri
3rdKeith GaleaLindsey Zammit
   
Age Groups  
Under 23Julian James AsciakMaya Schembri Rodgers
Over 40Neil Falzon
Over 50Joseph Caruana 
Over 60Nicky Farrugia

The next event on Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club Race Calendar for 2024 will be a cycling time-trial hosted in Fleur-de-lys on Sunday 3rd March.  Registration is open online – https://bsj.mt/event/2024-bsj-cycling-time-trial/

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