SERI MANJUNG: South African Jason Spong (pic) sprang a surprise to beat favourite and world number one Andy Sutz of Switzerland to capture the Malakoff Powerman Malaysia men’s elite title here yesterday.
Spong clocked 2’43:13 and Sutz finished the race in 2’55:48 for third place. Frenchman Anthony Le Duey was second in 2’47:42. Malaysia’s Sharom Abdullah finished a creditable sixth in 3’00:34.
The gruelling 11km run-64km cycling-10km run event drew its highest participation to date with 673 participants.
Spong, who was also the winner in 2005, played the heat and humidity of the day to full advantage, leading from start to finish while Sutz, who trains and races in Europe and North America was unprepared for the draining effects of the weather.
“The weather here is similar to South Africa and with last year’s winner Joerie Vansteelant unable to make it, I was confident that I had a definite edge over the others. I just set my mind on winning and worked at it,” said Spong.
Australian Rebecca Preston won the women’s elite race in 3’09:41 — a full six minutes faster than second-placed Victoria Beck of New Zealand (3’15:52). Filipina Monica Torres was third in 3’36:42. The fastest Malaysian finisher was Mariana Mohammad in fourth place with a time of 3’28:46.
The top three finishers in the men’s and women’s elite race received US$5,000, US$3,000 and US$1,200 each respectively.