IRONMAN Malaysia 2017: It’s a Wrap in Langkawi!
Nearly 2,000 athletes raced across Langkawi island on 11 November 2017 to earn a finisher title in the IRONMAN Malaysia 2017.
This year’s IRONMAN Malaysia in Langkawi saw more than 70% of registered athletes coming from over 60 different countries. The Top 5 international countries were Japan, Singapore, China, Australia and Philippines. In the professional category, 35 athletes from 19 countries competed for qualifying points and personal best times, as well as the pot of USD 25,000 prize money.
A total of 50 slots for 2018 IRONMAN World Championship are offered to the top athletes from IRONMAN Malaysia in a roll down ceremony on 12 November 2017, the morning after the race. The 2018 IRONMAN World Championship will take place on 13 October 2018 on The Big Island of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
Over the course of the 5-day race week, the huge number of local and international participants that came to Langkawi certainly brought the island to life and at the same time boosted the tourism income and livelihood of the island dwellers.
Datuk Zulkefli Haji Sharif, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), said,
On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, I would like to congratulate the triumphant champions and the participants of IRONMAN® Malaysia as well as IRONMAN® 70.3 Langkawi for their pure determination and exceptional mettle to cross the finish line. I would also like to commend the organisers, World Endurance Malaysia and partners for successfully putting together a remarkable event; bringing together athletes, fitness enthusiasts, their family and friends, whilst placing Malaysia on the map for high level sports tourism.
Best Male Professional
Frenchman Romain Guillaume, grabbed his first win in IRONMAN Malaysia with a course record time of 8:32:53. He previously attempted the 2015 and 2010 editions, coming in 20th and 3rd place respectively. In the second place, Denmark’s Jens Petersen-Bach finished with less than four minutes behind the winner. German Roman Deisenhofer, in his first year as a pro, scored his first podium in third place nearly eight minutes behind the winner. Last year’s winner Fredrik Croneborg failed to defend his title due to his bike’s front tire puncture.
An emotional Guillaume said,
I’m really glad that I finally won the 2017 IRONMAN Malaysia title. I’ve experienced many setbacks while trying to win the most-coveted title in triathlon. I learned from my past years’ mistakes and made sure that I don’t repeat them again. I was motivated to come and participate again because Langkawi has a special place in my heart. The island is beautiful, and the people are friendly and nice. They were always cheering for me. I dedicate my win to my loved ones who have always been there for through my ups and downs. I promise to come again next year to defend my title. It’s nice to know that I also beat the record for this year.
Best Female Professional
In the women’s category, defending champion German Diana Riesler extended her remarkable record with a fourth straight victory by winning the race in 9:19:00. Fellow German Mareen Hufe finished second. While Riesler and Hufe are seasoned performers, there was joy for Frenchwoman Manon Genêt who earned her first podium in her rookie year as a professional, finishing third. Riesler shared,
I’m very happy that I get to defend my title for the 4th time in a row. I do believe I have a special bond with Langkawi. The people are friendly and nice and I get to see sea gulls every time I’m here. I think that is pretty special. The three disciplines went well for me. I love the rain this time and managed to adapt to it in no time.
20-year-old Lim Chee Yong, who claimed the Best Langkawian Title again this year, came in 3rd in his Age Group with a finishing time of 11:45:24, earning him a slot for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship. Chee Yong has also made history to be the first Langkawian to qualify for the IRONMAN World Championship.
Lim, who completed the race 12 minutes earlier than the year before, said,
This is my 2nd time participating in IRONMAN, and I’m very happy to have qualified for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship. I truly enjoyed the race yesterday. I had a very smooth swim, but it got quite hilly for the bike leg, and the rain cooled the temperature which helped to bring my heart rate down during the run.
Best Malaysian Male and Female
Shahrom Abdullah claimed the title of Best Malaysian Male with 10:19:51. Meanwhile, Mei See Chin was named the Best Malaysian Female for the 3rd time with 11:34:23, a huge improvement from her 2016 finishing time of 12:02:27.
IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi
In the IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi, 30 qualifying slots were for the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship were given out to top athletes. The 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship will be held in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa on 2 September 2018.
Nabil Jeffri, Malaysian racing driver, finished first in his age group category (18 – 24) for the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi with a time of 05:24:55, and was qualified a slot at the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Former national squash player, Azlan Iskandar (06:05:11), and iflix CEO Azran Osman Rani (05:47:57) were also amongst the participants in this year’s inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi.
Top finishers in all age categories received trophies and celebrated during the Awards Night Dinner at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi later that night.
Geoff Meyer, Managing Director of IRONMAN Asia, said,
Congratulations to Romain Guillaume, Diana Riesler, and all the athletes who completed this year’s IRONMAN Malaysia and IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi. They have truly demonstrated that anything is possible, core of the IRONMAN spirit. Their perseverance and strength was an inspiring watch for a great finish. The support from the triathlon community, sponsors and partners over the years has been genuinely amazing for IRONMAN. The people of Langkawi have truly contributed to the success and making this event their own; resulting to being one of the best on a global level.