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Inspiring Camaraderie: 2024 IRONMAN 70.3 Asia TriClub Championship Desaru Coast Takes Centre Stage At The Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

The 2024 Desaru Coast Multisport Festival (DCMF), now in its third running, reached new heights by successfully staging the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia TriClub Championship over the weekend. 

The three-day Multisport Festival welcomed back four staple events:  IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast, 5150 Triathlon Desaru Coast, Desaru Coast Sprint Triathlon, and IRONKIDS Desaru Coast. Together, these events attracted an impressive total of more than 1,250 participants from 49 countries.

The IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast, serving as the marquee event annually, gained even greater prestige with IRONMAN designating it as the 2024 Asia TriClub Championship, part of the Global TriClub Championship Series in 2024.

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

The TriClub Awards combines the efforts of the top 5 athletes, regardless of gender, within the Club’s participating athletes for the lowest total time at the 2024 IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast. There is a total of USD $3,000 cash prizes up for grabs between Malaysian as well as International TriClubs. 

RC Coaching was named the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia TriClub Desaru Coast Malaysian champions with the fastest accumulated time overall. Whereas Team7 Endurance from China had the honour of being crowned the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia TriClub Championship after emerging victorious among more than 75 clubs in a thrilling race. 

The Global TriClub Championship Series represents the pinnacle of the IRONMAN TriClub Program each year. Clubs worldwide registered with IRONMAN compete for the coveted title of TriClub Champion, with exclusive perks and the thrill of competing against fellow clubs.

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

Launched in 2012, the IRONMAN TriClub Program fosters community, growth, and friendly competition within the triathlon world, uniting enthusiasts through networking opportunities.

In addition to bolstering their TriClub standings, participants at the IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast were motivated to pursue personal triumphs, as the event once again served as a qualifier for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship.

With 45 Age Group Qualifying slots available, plus an extra 15 slots designated for women, athletes had the opportunity to secure berths at the 2024 VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupō, New Zealand, on December 14-15.

The competition at the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia TriClub Championship Desaru Coast on Sunday proved to be incredibly engaging, with more than 800 participants toeing the start line at The Westin Desaru Coast Resort beachfront to tackle the first leg with a 1.9km swim.

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

Athletes then tackled a challenging two-loop, undulating 90km bike course along the scenic coast of Desaru Coast. Transitioning to the run leg, participants completed a flat, three-loop 21.1km course encircling the perimeter of The Els Club Desaru Coast – Ocean Course. The thrilling journey concluded at the finish line located on the beachfront of The Westin Desaru Coast Resort.

It was a day to cherish for Chinese triathlete Cao Junyu who emerged as the IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast overall fastest male finisher, clocking 4:30:31. This marked the first time he achieved this feat. The 37-year-old had previously tasted success in the age-group category, but for him, nothing compares to this victory.

“I’m very happy, it was a dream come true for me to top the overall standings for the first time,” said Cao, who hails from Chongqing. “This achievement helped me surpass my previous best, a second overall in the Philippines last November. I’ve been training very hard ever since, so today’s success reflects my perseverance. I fought very hard from behind to take the lead at the 6km mark of the running leg. I then pushed on and increased the pace to seal the win.”

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

Singapore’s Choo Ling Er was again in a class of her own as she claimed an emphatic victory as the IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast overall fastest female finisher, marking the second straight year that she topped the chart. Crossing the finish line at 4:52:13, Choo described today’s performance as her best yet, especially after recovering from a road mishap that affected her both physically and mentally. 

“I’m very happy to defend the title. I’ve been struggling with my health for the last six months. I had a cycling accident during Christmas, which took me five months to recover. Coming back was a very slow process. I lost a lot of skin and all that,” said Choo.

“Mentally, cycling on the road is a struggle. You constantly worry that it might happen again, like a car might hit you from behind. I managed to get through it, and I’m happy with my progress. This is the best race I’ve ever done, feeling healthy, happy, physically, and emotionally. I’m very well, and I managed to execute what I needed to do and have a great day.”

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast’s fastest Malaysian female finisher, Serena Yang could not have asked for a better outcome as she marked a successful comeback after delivering her third child in September last year. Juggling motherhood has become tougher than ever, as she could only afford to train full-time for a month prior to today’s race.

“I’m really surprised with my performance today. I thought I would be much slower, but I did quite well. I was targeting 5:40, but I did 5:31. So I’m really pleased with today’s performance. It’s really extra satisfying. Despite the lack of training, it was just a few minutes slower than what I clocked to be the fastest Malaysian finisher two years ago,” said Yang.

Shahrom Abdullah, who came in as IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast’s fastest Malaysian male, was elated to make a strong return after missing last year’s edition due to illness.

“Last year, I was all set for the race and had even checked in my bike. But just before the race, I started feeling unwell. It definitely feels great to compete after last year’s absence, and finishing as the best Malaysian makes it even better,” he said. 

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

Participants in fringe events – the Sprint Triathlon and 5150 Triathlon — gained valuable insights and experiences akin to those of an IRONMAN competition. These events catered to athletes seeking a taste of triathlons for the first time or aiming to enhance their performance before venturing into the longer IRONMAN 70.3 event.

The Sprint Triathlon featured a 750m swim, 20km bike ride, and 5km run, while the 5150 Triathlon series presented a more challenging course of 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride, and 10km run.

In the 5150 races, also known as the Olympic Distance, Chris Wheeler of Great Britain stamped his class by finishing first in the men’s overall standings with a time of 2:32:43, while Portugal’s Joana Moreira clinched the fastest female honour with a time of 2:44:26.

In the men’s Sprint Triathlon contest, Malaysia’s Yap Qi Yi’s hopes of securing a second consecutive victory were dashed as he settled for second place behind Singapore’s Cedric Chua Jian Hong. 

The 18-year-old Yap initially took the lead after the swim but was penalized for drafting too closely behind Chua during the bike leg, costing him a crucial minute. He finished with a time of 1:08:20, more than two minutes behind Chua’s 1:06:02.

Michaella Concetta Alexandra Widjaya of Australia emerged victorious in the female category with an impressive time of 1:21:56.  

With more than 100 participants, IRONKIDS proved to be a vibrant showcase of emerging talent. Under the vigilant supervision of marshals and security personnel, children displayed remarkable skill and enthusiasm as they swam, biked, and ran through the course. Their determination and athleticism were evident, reflecting a promising future generation of triathletes.

IRONMAN Asia Regional Director CG Lim expressed, “For the past two years, the DCMF has attracted athletes from around the globe to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and unique experiences offered by Desaru Coast and Johor. The event was impeccably organized and garnered positive feedback from all participants.”

“We were very excited to return to Desaru Coast in 2024 and had no qualms about designating the highly successful IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast as the Asia TriClub Championship. Indeed, it added excitement to the event, where athletes competed not only for their individual accomplishments but also to help their TriClub outperform their rivals.”

Khairul Ariffin Ibrahim, Chief Executive Office, Desaru Coast said, “It was an absolute honour to host the 2024 Asia TriClub Championship, a key event in the Global TriClub Championship Series, at the Desaru Coast Multisport Festival this year. This opportunity fuels our longstanding commitment to raising the profile of Desaru Coast and the state of Johor within the international IRONMAN circuit, making sports tourism a collective pillar of success for all.

“Beyond offering a scenic triathlon course, one of the major attractions of our Desaru Coast Multisport Festival is its inclusivity, catering to competitors of all levels across multiple races throughout the weekend, as families and fans turn it into a coastal holiday for everyone to enjoy. We were also thrilled to see athletes, their families, and spectators enjoy our festival village, which housed a vibrant mix of food, music, dance, and festivities,” continued Khairul.

Desaru Coast Multisport Festival

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