Friday, July 29, 2011

Port Dickson International Triathlon 2011 Race Report Olympic Distance

The Olympic Distance Event of the Port Dickson International Triathlon took place on 24 July 2011 at the Avillion Admiral Cove. This year – the 10th year this event has been held – a record number of 1450 folks from 36 nations took part. I did the Sprint Distance the day before (Sprint race report here) and stayed back to cheer on friends and racers. Also I’m just a 'kay poh', and wanted to see if the PDIT lived up to its reputation as one of the best organized, most well-attended, and bestest, funnest triathlons in Malaysia! It does!

All photos in this post by Tey Eng Tiong. Thanks Tey! And a big shout out to Paul for helping fix parts of this post! Thanks Paul!
GO! Hong Kong's top triathlete Lee Chi Wo leads the men's 30-39 wave
while also making a fashion statement in his neon pink swim cap.
Ramping up the competitive field were a bunch of elite triathletes who had flown in from Hong Kong, Macau, Australia and the Philippines. There were 50 mixed-relay teams and 53 all male relay teams. Together with the almost 700 individual age groupers, standing on the beach that morning were over 800 people ready (or not!) to launch themselves into the Straits of Melaka for the 1.5 km swim. 
Among the youngest was Salman Ali Shariati, who at 11 years of age had already earned the title of Double Iron-Man (8 km swim, 340 km bike, 84 km run). Now at 14, he would be up against the 16-29 age-groupers. The youngest was Yeong Yik San, 11 years old, who hails from a family of triathletes (pic below). The oldest was 74 year old 15-time Ironman finisher Yee Sze Mun. Also incredibly inspiring to see at the start line was the one-armed Mohd Sabki, out to prove that disability is no barrier to participating in this endurance event (pic below). Then there were the age-groupers - the bulk of the participants - a colorful mix of first timers, veterans and people who come back every year to PD to meet friends, maybe improve on a PB, or just have fun and finish!
The 16-29 age groupers included Yeong Yik San,  who at 11 years of age, was the youngest racer for this Olympic Distance event

Mohd Sabki, you're an inspiration. Photo taken moments before the 1.5 km swim. Phwoaarrr....
The guy came out of the water in the top third of 226 men in the 30-39 category.

The age-groupers were flagged off in five waves, beginning 8 am and spread 5 minutes apart. I accompanied Cynthia for her swim, and we were in the fourth wave. Most everyone got a personal best (PB) on their swims, thanks to a very helpful shore-ward current on the return swim. Hong Kong’s leading triathlete Lee Chi Wo, torpedoed out of the water at 18m7s. Chi Wo went on to increase his lead on the 40 km bike course, over his closest rival Assad Attamimi (Australia). His run (10 km course) wasn’t as fast as Assad’s but he held on to his lead and crossed the finish line in 1:51:14, a comfy 2 minutes ahead of Assad. Macau’s top female triathlete Hoi Long came out of the water at 20m15s followed by Stephanie Chok (MAS) and Angie Tan (SG) at 24m23s, and Monica Torres (Phillipines) at 26m56s. Hoi Long definitely won the race on the swim, finishing at 2:00:01, a whopping 7 minutes ahead of Monica who took second. Stephanie Chok and Teh Kuok Yuen both did Malaysia proud, placing fourth overall in the womens and men’s, with a time of 2:21:31 and 1:53:57, respectively.
Monica Torres (Philippines) on bike. Go Girl!

Stephanie Chok en route to 4th overall in womens,
and 1st Malaysian female finisher. WOOT! WOOT!
While these eventual champs were half-way to the finish line, the last few swimmers were just finishing their grueling water torture (read my account here). I am very thankful that there were no mishaps in the swim leg. On a side note, I googled triathlon and drowning, and found that tragically, participants have drowned in triathlons in the past, despite having adequate safety kayaks and such. Apparently the risk of dying during a triathlon, while low, (14 in 1 million), is double that of marathons, and most of these have occurred in the swim (read more here). I was once asked a question: “Why not have the swim leg last so that people can freshen up after the sweaty bike and run?” Why not? Well because all these exhausted people are going to drown if they try to swim at the end of an exhausting bike and run, that’s why!
Moving on to less morbid topics…
Laura Hoi Long (Macau) and Lee Chi Wo (Hong Kong)
overall womens and mens champs. Good jorb!

In all, the PDIT is a well-organized triathlon, only 1.5 hr drive from Kuala Lumpur, held in a lovely scenic venue, with a newbie-friendly race course. No killer hills, just fun gentle rolling terrain on the drafting-permitted bike route. This year debuted an off-road run section that afforded pretty views on the beach and a much safer overall run. Best of all is the swim - calm water, nice temperatures, no jellyfish! The supporters comprising families, kids and friends, together with the volunteers that hand out drinks, marshall, provide safety, cheer on the racers… everyone contributes to the festive and fun atmosphere at this race. Uncle Chan’s events do not disappoint and I am looking forward to the Desaru Triathlon this September! See you there!
The PDIT is jointly organised by the Negri Sembilan government, Trisportz Event Management and Avillion Admiral Cove. The sponsors include Timex, Milo, 100 Plus, F&N Ice Mountain, Brooks, 2XU, Isuzu, Power Balance and Power Bar.
A click on any ad below this post will put a few cents in my pocket, from the advertisers. Thanks for supporting my blog!

xo Gracie


  1. Nice and refreshing round up for entire the race, Grace!Thanx for sharing!!

    Paul Lee

  2. Hi Paul!!! You made my day - thanks for stopping by and saying hello! :D


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