By Elvin Liang

jonathan ma tri factor triathlon

Jonathan Ma celebrates as he crosses the finish line first in 2:09:06. (Photo 1 © Ayushman Basu/Red Sports)

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East Coast Park, Sunday, August 18, 2013 – The cool morning weather helped Singaporean triathlete Jonathan Ma, 25, to win the Tri-Factor Triathlon (1.5km swim, 40km cycle, 10km run) in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 6 seconds. His ex-NUS aquathlon teammate Dex Cheong grabbed second position with a total time of 2:14:43. Rick Atkinson was third in 2:15:41.

“The swim was the hardest bit but I was keeping up closely with another guy,” said Jonathan who recently recovered from a foot injury picked up in training. “There were some instances where we would unintentionally bump into each other in the water due to the strong current. I started to lead during the bike segment. The run was good, the weather was cool and I felt fantastic!”

Dex Cheong also agreed the swim was challenging and he managed to catch up with the first wave of triathletes during the 10km run, which is his strongest leg.

In the women’s category, Katherine De Rome took first place in 2:19:58. Next in second place was Vanja Cnops who completed the race in 2:27:17. The NTU researcher recently also finished second at the Race Against Cancer run last month. Rowena de Belligny clinched third on the podium after finishing in 2:33:59.

In the men’s veterans category, Jan John Zastera, one of the top three in the running leg of the 2012 Tri-Factor Series, bagged the gold medal with a time of 2:21:40. Following closely behind was Dane Jasper Silkeborg who completed in 2:22:15. Settling for third place was Dean Campbell with 2:24:05.

In the women’s veterans category, Wendy Wilcox scooped the gold convincingly with a 2:45:16. Wendy, who recently participated in the Deva Triathlon held in Chester, UK, in June, finished in the top three of the triathlon leg of the 2012 Tri-Factor Series. Coming in second and third respectively were Larissa Taylor (2:57:21), and Khoon Hsing Ling (2:59:25).

In the team relay, The Flying Doctors, comprising of Drs Foo Gen Lin, Derek Li, and medical undergraduate Adriel Tay, bagged the first prize with a total time of 2:07:28. Gen Lin won the 10km open category at the recent Jurong Lake Run held in July. Leading the swim was Adriel, with Derek on the bike and Gen Lin on the run.

Experienced triathlete Loo Chuan Rong, 30, topped the charts in the men’s sprint category (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5km run) with a timing of 1:09:21. Chuan Rong is a three-time winner of the Ironman 70.3 Singapore. It was a pretty close fight for first place as Nicholas Lee tailed Chuan Rong closely in an attempt to overtake during the run. However, Chuan Rong picked up his pace in the last 1km, leaving Nicholas to settle for second in 1:09:38. Chew Yi Heng kept up the momentum to secure third in 1:10:09.

Winona Howe, 18, won the women’s sprint race to add to her victory in both the MetaSprint Series triathlon and overall series category earlier this year. She clocked 1:11:13.

Winona, who has taken time off her studies to focus on the triathlon, also bagged the first prize in the 40km bike leg of the Tri-Factor Series, as well as second prize in the 10.5km run earlier this year. Winona will also compete again in the Singapore ITU Triathlon Asian Cup scheduled in September.

Comfortably taking second spot with a time of 1:15:05 was Raffles Girls’ School student Denise Chia. Denise led after the swim but was overtaken by Winona during the bike leg. Despite the rising heat during the run, Denise managed to keep Winona in her sight until the last 2km. As a rising local athletic talent, Denise took home the junior category gold medal in the Singapore Aquathlon held earlier this year.

Australian Megan Gray was third in 1:22:50. Megan also came in tops in the above-40 age category in the Singapore Aquathlon.

In the men’s veteran sprint race, Carl Chan (1:17) and Michael Lyons (1:20:14) were first and second respectively. Joining them on the podium in third place was Ian Chatting with a time of 1:20:20.

Elite international triathlete Karen Taylor of the United Kingdom bagged the gold in the women’s veteran sprint category with a time of 1:32:23. Canadian Christine Elliott just beat South African Natalie Wilkinson for second place by nine seconds with a time of 1:36:46.

Natalie was leading the swim but was neck-and-neck with Karen during the bike leg, with Christine following closely behind. It was no surprise that the final running leg saw Karen and Christine overtaking Natalie, as both are strong runners.

In the final 5km, the pressure was on Natalie to increase her pace to defend her position from Christine. However, Christine eventually picked up the tempo over the last 200m to win the silver.

Standard Distance Open – Male
1st Jonathan Ma (#0009) – 02:09:06 (Swim – 00:25:11; Bike – 01:02:02; Run – 00:41:54)
2nd Dex Cheong (#0027) – 02:14:43 (Swim – 00:29:42; Bike – 01:03:29; Run – 00:41:32)
3rd Rick Atkinson (#0040) – 02:15:41 (Swim – 00:25:09; Bike – 01:03:33; Run – 00:47:00)

Standard Distance Open – Female
1st Katherine De Rome (#0797) – 02:19:58 (Swim – 00:25:46; Bike – 01:09:35; Run – 00:44:38)
2nd Vanja Cnops (#0768) – 02:27:17 (Swim – 00:32:44; Bike – 01:10:50; Run – 00:43:45)
3rd Rowena De Belligny (#0742) – 02:33:59 (Swim – 00:35:12; Bike – 01:08:53; Run – 00:49:54)

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