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Galea and Kuusijarvi win Go&Fun BSJ series opener

Krista Kuusjiarvi (centre) poses with Maya Schembri Rodgers (left) and Lindsey Zammit.

Birkirkara St Joseph Sports Club hosted its triathlon season opener in Salina this weekend, when it organised the Go&Fun BSJ Sprint Triathlon race.

The race attracted a mix of experienced triathletes and newcomers who provided a thrilling race.

The first surprise of the morning was Maya Schembri Rodgers who registered the fastest swim of the day, covering the 750m swim in 11 mins 13 seconds, ahead of Ryan Muscat, Nicholas Sammut and Keith Galea.

First on the bike course was Muscat. From then, a battle of wits ensued.

Muscat’s lead ahead of Galea was kept until the second half of the second lap of the 20km course, when Galea narrowed to gap to eventually overtake Muscat.

Places were switched again, however. Galea’s determined pace saw him enter the transition ahead of Muscat.

Muscat took the lead on the run but Galea was hot on his heels and there was no room for complacency.

A determined push from Galea saw him narrowing the gap, with Galea overtaking Muscat. After reaching the 2.5km mark, Galea kept forging ahead to take the win for the day, nonetheless it was a notable performance for the two who kept challenging each other throughout.

In the meantime, behind them another battle was ensuing between Josef Bonavia and Josef Azzopardi.

Bonavia was ahead of Azzopardi as they exited for the 5km run, however in another solid performance by
Azzopardi, the kept narrowing the gap before edging Bonavia to third place.

The females’ category saw Schembri Rodgers dominate the swim segment.

Although first out of the water, a more experienced Krista Kuusjiarvi delivered a strong show on the bike segment enabling her to take the lead and set the pace for the rest of the race.

Kuusijarvi won the race in 1:09:08. She was followed by Schembri Rodgers and Lindsey Zammit who took the podium for the day.

Club president Ray Grech presented the trophies to the top three finishers in each category.

Meanwhile, the club also hosted a duathlon for youths, which saw three categories taking place. Category 1 saw the youngest athletes taking part. The first three athletes to finish were Oliver Buccheri, Kruiven Farrugia and Luca Azzopardi. The largest participation was in Category 2 and here, Neil Cassar placed ahead of Leo Buccheri and Jake Refalo in the boys’ section while Nina Debono Curmi, Katie Vella Wood and Kim Micallef Cann finished in this order in the girls’ race. In Category 3, Liam Daly finished first, followed by Aiden Muscat and Zija Fuji – who was the first girl to finish. The third male was Nathan Pace. The other two girls competing in this category were Julia Schembri and Kaya Lee Agius.

The next multisport event hosted by Birkirkara SJ will be an Olympic Distance Triathlon held on May 14.

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