Ironman Malaysia: Faris, Belinda rule Langkawi
Australia’s Belinda Granger crosses the finish line to win the women’s Ironman Malaysia title in record time in Langkawi yesterday.
GERMANY’S former world champion Faris Al-Sultan and Australia’s Belinda Granger overcame the scorching weather in Langkawi to win the 2008 Ironman Malaysia men’s and women’s titles respectively yesterday.
The 30-year-old Faris stormed into the lead by the second event, cycling, and finished an hour ahead of second placed Peter Vabrousek of the Czech Republic.
Faris, who clocked 8 hours 34 minutes 42 seconds, said: “Peter is a strong runner, he beat me in the run twice last year in Frankfurt and South Africa. So, I knew I had to pace myself on the bike to put myself a distance away from him.
“I was not happy with my run, but that was enough for me to win the race,” said Faris, competing in Malaysia for the first time.
Faris, the 2005 world champion, will compete in the Frankfurt leg of the Ironman competition in July before the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in November.
In the women’s category, Belinda upstaged pre-race favourite Yvonne Van Vlerken of the Netherlands to capture her sixth Ironman title. Belinda clocked 9:29:21s while Yvonne posted 9:35:46; while Yasuko Miyazaki of Japan was third (10:14:01).
Yvonne, a world champion in duathlon, was sticking close to Belinda before the latter sped off in the final six kilometres.
Belinda, who was second in Langkawi in 2003, said she found it harder to win this time, compared to five years ago.
“I won’t say it was easier than the one in 2003. I’m older now, and I’m wiser and more patient,” said the 37-year-old who broke the course record with 9:29:21s.
The old record of 9:44:12s was set last year by German Nicole Leder.
Malaysia’s best finisher was former national cyclist Wong Ah Thiam who finished third in the men’s 30-34 age group with a time of 10:03:59s.
RESULTS – Men: 1 Faris Al-Sultan (Ger) 8:34:42s; 2 Peter Vabrousek (Cze) 9:04:54 3; 3. Elmar Schuberth (Aust) 9:06:03.
Women: 1 Belinda Granger (Aus) 9:29:21s; 2 Yvonne van Vlerken (Ned) 9:35:46; 3 Yasuko Miyazaki (Jap) 10:14:01.