Petaling Jaya, 21 November - The 2016 edition of IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi took place on November 12 on Langkawi Island. IRONMAN Malaysia has operated the race since its return to the island destination in 2014.
This year’s race saw 1,100 participants representing over 63 countries. International athletes made up 74% of the total, and Japan, the Philippines, Australia and Malaysia had the highest athlete counts of the countries represented. Participants were 87% male and 13% female. Forty-eight professional athletes from 25 countries participated in the race, competing for personal best times and USD 40,000 in total prize money. There were also 40 qualifying slots for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
“On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, I would like to congratulate the victorious champions as well all the participants of IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi for their sheer perseverance and extraordinary spirit to cross the finish line. You are living proof that anything is possible. I would also like to compliment the organizer, World Endurance Malaysia, and partners for the success of this event – bringing together athletes, fitness enthusiasts, as well as their family and friends along with supporters for a truly outstanding event,” said Datuk Zulkefli Haji Sharif, Chief Executive Officer of MyCEB.
"We hope that everyone has enjoyed the beautiful paradise of Langkawi Island throughout your stay and that you will bring back home unforgettable memories - from the picturesque white sandy beaches to the stunning view of the majestic geoforest park. We would like to invite you to come back again to explore more of Malaysia, Truly Asia," he added.
Fredrik Croneborg of Sweden grabbed his breakthrough IRONMAN victory, overcoming strong competition and limited training due to a recent injury and the birth of his first child. He previously placed second in the 2014 and 2015 editions of the race. He withstood a storming run from Brazilian Thiago Vinhal to claim his first IRONMAN win in 8:39:11. The fastest run came from Japan’s Kaito Tohara who zoomed home to pick up third.
On his win, Croneborg said “It feels incredible! There are a lot of reasons for that. It’s my first IRONMAN title and after doing two second places, it is great. It got so close at the end and my preparation has not been optimal. All these things together and with the pressure before the race, it’s amazing. I felt a lot of crowd support out there from spectators and other competitors. It is my favourite race.”
In the women’s race, it proved a record breaking three consecutive wins at IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi for Germany’s Diana Riesler, who made her move late on the bike and proved too strong to beat on the run. The German pro achieved a time of 9:25:34 as rain showered the finish line on Cenang beach.
“I think I was third after the swim, and then I took over the lead on the bike after 30 kilometres. From then on, I stayed at the front. I’m just happy that I could come back to Malaysia and win. I’ve won three times, and this is my favourite race,” she said.
“It was a great race. The weather was on our side and the swim start went smoothly, which is a great indicator of how the day is going to go. The athletes raced strong today, and they should all be very proud of themselves for persevering,” said Carl Smith, race director and IRONMAN Operations Manager, Asia.
Other notable participants included Malaysia’s first IRONMAN Asia Ambassador Rupert Chen (10:31:29), Sepang International Circuit CEO Dato’ Razlan Razali (16:14:44) and iflix CEO Azran Osman Rani (13:31:49).
Top athletes across all categories accepted IRONMAN World Championship slots in a roll down ceremony on November 13. The 2017 World Championship will take place on October 14, 2017 on The Big Island of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Yoshihito Munemasa, 70, accepted one of the 40 allocated slots to the championship, which is by qualification only. He raced in the 70-74 category and finished strong with a time of 13:53:09. He has raced in Kona six times. He achieved his first qualification via IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi fifteen years prior.
Top finishers in all age categories received trophies at the beachside Awards Night Dinner at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi later that night. Firefighter Amran Abdul Ghani reclaimed his 2014 title of Best Malaysian Male with 10:09:04. Mei See Chin was once again the Best Malaysian Female with a time of 12:02:27, improving on her 2015 finishing time of 12:53:28.
On the 2016 edition of the race, Geoff Meyer, Managing Director of IRONMAN Asia, said, “We congratulate Fredrik Croneborg, Diana Riesler and all athletes who took part in this year’s race. They are truly the essence of IRONMAN - their strength, determination and perseverance is inspiring to watch, and it was a great race. IRONMAN has received tremendous support by the triathlon community and our sponsors and partners over the years. The people of Langkawi have truly made the event their own and it ranks as one of the best on a global scale.”
Veteran Malaysian IRONMAN Yee Sze Mun, 79, also launched his book “The Bumble Bee in me - Living the IRONMAN Dream” during the 2016 IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi race week. The book chronicles his experiences as an IRONMAN athlete, beginning with his first marathon at age 50, and his first triathlon at age 52. On his experiences as a veteran IRONMAN who has qualified for the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii six times, he said, “IRONMAN made me what I am today. Chasing this same dream for the best part of 21 years has shaped and turned me into a better man, physically, mentally and in every aspect of my life. It is my hope that this book can inspire people who want to be an IRONMAN, and become a better human being.”
The IRONKIDS race on November 11 saw 200 kids aged 5 - 13 taking part in a 500m or 1km dash along Cenang Beach, sharing the IRONMAN finisher’s arch. IRONMAN Malaysia introduced the IRONKIDS race in 2015 to promote a healthy and active lifestyle to children. The race also allows children of IRONMAN participants to experience the finish line at the Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa.
The race expo took place from November 9 - 13, and featured booths by sports and lifestyle exhibitors and the IRONMAN official merchandise. Yee Sze Mun’s book was also on sale during the expo.
The 2016 IRONMAN Malaysia Langkawi was supported by Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Malaysia Major Events, Malaysia Year of Festivals 2016, Kedah State, Langkawi Development Authority (LADA), Naturally Langkawi, Discover Kedah 2016, The Danna Langkawi, Meritus Pelangi Beach Resort & Spa Langkawi, Active, Brooks, Compressport, PowerBar, FinisherPix, Triathlon Association of Malaysia, Zoot and LILA.
For more information, visit www.IRONMANMalaysia.com.
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