Seven Malaysians show iron will to reach World Championship

PETALING JAYA: Seven Malaysians shone in the Ironman Malaysia & Ironman 70.3 Langkawi on Saturday to qualify for the World Championships next year.

Power couple: Tahira Najmunisaa Zaid posing for a photograph with husband Abdul Rahman Abu Hassan after the competition.Power couple: Tahira Najmunisaa Zaid posing for a photograph with husband Abdul Rahman Abu Hassan after the competition.

Four – Shahrom Abdullah, Zakira Zulrimi, Ann Pow, Tia Aik Teong and Lim Chee Yong – earned tickets to the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, on Aug 26-27 next year while two – husband and wife Abdul Rahman Abu Hassan and Tahira Najmunisaa Zaid – will be heading to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Lahti, Finland, from Oct 12-Oct 14.

Ann, 24, finished as the fastest Malaysian in the Ironman Malaysia in her first attempt, in a time of 11’55:44 despite enduring most of her run with a blistered foot.

“Competing in Hawaii is a dream come true not just for me, but for all the others who qualified. I never expected to get a spot,” said Ann.

“I just wanted to be the first in my age group and did not expect to finish as the fastest Malaysian female. This is a bonus for me.”

Hanoi SEA Games silver medallist Tahira was the fastest female athlete in the Ironman Langkawi 70.3, finishing with a time of 5’14:55.

Tahira’s participation was initially in doubt as her daughter was due to undergo open heart surgery, but it was postponed.

“I haven’t swam in months, but I’m a strong cyclist and runner. So I focused on that. The vibe and overall race atmosphere, coupled with the rain spurred, me on,” she said.

Meanwhile, national duathlete Ziq Junaidy gave himself the best birthday gift after he was crowned the fastest Malaysian at the Ironman Langkawi 70.3 with a time of 4’52:39.

As he is focused on securing a spot for next year’s SEA Games in Cambodia, Ziq won’t be competing in the World Championships.

“I did my best today and I’m happy it is enough for me to finish as the fastest Malaysian – and on my birthday too! This is ideal preparation for me to qualify for the SEA Games.”

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