McCullagh and Melville on the top of Katara
With large contingents of Qatar’s regular triathletes overseas at Ironman 70.3 races in Greece and Turkey, it is testament to the sport’s growth that the opening event of the domestic season was again completely full.
Over 250 athletes entered the water at Katara beach and the broad appeal of this sport was perfectly evidenced by the spread of swim times – ten and a half minutes for the fastest to complete 750 meters, ranging to over four times that for those chasing fun and fitness rather than the podium.
The men’s event was dominated by Bernard McCullagh. The Irishman put in the fastest swim and bike and in running was surpassed only by countryman Steve Macklin’s split. Macklin was the only athlete to break 20 minutes on the hilly route but this was not enough to eat too far into the healthy lead built by McCullagh over the first two disciplines.
Macklin’s closest competition was from Spaniard Joaquin Berral who exited the swim some 50 seconds faster and built that to a minute through the transition to the bike. Both athletes then gained ground – passing the first placed Qatari, Ebrahim Alromaihi, who would go on to finish 5th overall.
But it was that blistering run which ultimately put Macklin with a narrow margin of 40 seconds over Berral after over an hour of racing.
The women’s event finished even tighter. Julie Melville (AUS) has spent a year focussing on her run but remained mindful of being hunted down and beaten by Toni Snoxell (RSA) at last year’s Katara Triathlon. This time around, the Australian had built a good lead but with Snoxell blasting out a 23:09 5K, it seemed to spectators that history might repeat. It was not to be – Melville held off, with Snoxell ultimately finishing just 28 seconds behind.
Rebecca Page (GBR) completed the women’s podium one minute adrift of the leaders.
The athletes now have less than a month to prepare for the QNB Asia Triathlon Cup, Doha 2021, being held on 26th and 27th November. This event will be the first elite international race to be staged in Qatar. It will see Qatar’s National Team up against stiff competition from some of the world’s best triathletes.
- Abdulaziz AL-JABER QAT 1:15:01
- Abdulaziz AL-GHANIM QAT 1:21:31
- Liam HALLEUX FRA 1:22:49
- Anvitha ERINI IND 1:31:28
- Hannah WILSON GBR 2:23:47
- Bernard MCCULLAGH IRE 1:02:02
- Joaquin BERRAL SPA 1:04:05
- Ambroise AUFRERE FRA 1:05:25
- Steve MACKLIN IRE 1:03:21
- Vicente Luis CATALAN BERNIA SPA 1:09:57
- Simon MORTIMER GBR 1:10:40
- Toni SNOXELL RSA 1:14:08
- Rebecca PAGE GBR 1:15:05
- Adeline CORMARY FRA 1:16:16
- Julie MELVILLE AUS 1:13:40
- Andrea STADLER ECU 1:15:50
- Daniela SPOSI ITA 1:18:07
- Mahmoud / Khalid / Yaser 57:06
- Bloor / Marwan / Andrew 58:10
- Alolan / Nayef / Mafleh 1:00:56
Full results: Katara 2021 results