Athletes laud Ironman 70.3 Oman

MUSCAT, March 4 – Omani triathlete Haitham Thani al Faraei was delighted to participate his fourth Ironman 70.3 at his home country. Haitham, who had taken part in Ironman races in Bahrain, Dubai (2 times), was very excited to complete the race in five hours 24 minutes. “As I had taken part in the other Ironman races in the region, I can tell you that Oman offers a very different competition. Bahrain and Dubai we have a flat course but the Sultanate has some tough challenges with its open water, hilly terrains,” he told Oman Observer at the Ironman Village in Al Qurum after completing his race on last Friday.

The Omani finished 39th out of 118 in the Male 40-44 age category. Haitham, who is a businessman and business trainer, takes inspirations from races like Ironman. “The Ironman 70.3 has lot of challenges in it. Like in business and daily life we encounter many challenges and competing the races will instil you a leadership quality which we need to have in a successful career and life,” he said. The youngster, who started with football, looks forward to compete in the next edition of Ironman Oman to improve his performance.

Birgit Schulz, a resident of Oman, finished in 5: 16: 47 and took the second spot in female 50-54 age group. She will represent Oman in the Ironman World Championships in Nice, France, in September this year.
“I am very delighted to get the qualification spot for the World Championships. I will represent Oman in Nice and it is a great honour,” Schulz, who is a veteran of four Ironman 70.3 Championships, said.
The German athlete said Ironman Oman was very different from other editions due to the scenic and challenging stages.
“The course was awesome and challenging. I enjoyed it very much,” she said.
Schulz added that she was looking forward to a nice performance in Nice.
Another Omani athlete shared his first time experience at the Ironman 70.3.
“It was a thrilling event. Among the stages, biking was my best,” Mohammed Salim al Masroori, who finished 24th in Male 25-29 category with a timing of 5:56: 39, said.
Al Masroori feels that these type of events will boost Oman’s economy and sports sector.
“Ironman Oman has exposed the scenic beauty of the Sultanate to foreigners and it will surely benefit the local economy and sports in the country,” the oil company employee, who hails from Al Sharqiyah said.

Stephen Griffiths from Ireland said the course in Oman was very challenging amid some windy conditions on March 1.
“The course of Ironman Oman was very tough and challenging compared to many other races across the world. Oman’s different terrains was incorporated in the three stages and accounted for a great Ironman challenge,” the Irish athlete, who finished 27th out of 100 in the Male 45-49 category with a timing of 5:10: 02, said.
He opined that sports tourism in the country is on a high due to the various events hosted by the Sultanate recently.
He opined that the Sultanate has the potential and resources to hold these high-profile events annually.
Lauren Symmonds from South Africa summed up the day at the Ironman Village.
“This is an exciting time for all in Oman. The stages were thrilling and tough. Swimming was my best stage. In the running stage, I had to dig deep and push for a good finish,” Lauren, who works as a teacher in Muscat, said.
Lauren finished fifth in Female 25-29 section with a timing of 5:37: 40.
The young woman also called on the youngsters and students to embrace such events in Oman while thanking the youthful volunteers and organisers of the Ironman Oman for their tireless efforts.

Top Age Group Men (overall)
1. Antoine Mechin (FRA) 3:56:55
2. Paver Gorik (RUS) 4:14: 59
3. Rafael Wyss (SUI) 4: 16: 52
4. Daniel Konig (GER) 4: 21: 36
5. Volker Voit (GER) 4:22:17

Top Age Group Women (overall)
1. Michela Santini (ITA) 4:28:33
2. Natascha Badmann (SUI) 4:39:24
3. Giulia Bedorin (ITA) 4:41:54
4. Sara Bund (GER) 4:57: 41
5. Izabela Sobanska (POL) 4:59:14

Relay Team
1. Team Oman Royal Army Group B – 4:20:14
2. Team Clive Victor Subash – 5:00:11
3. Team United State of Kuwait – 5:01:41
4. Team Dubai – 5:12:21
5. Team Omniyat – 5:15:53