Nihal Baig (28), Pune-based aerospace engineer, beat the defending champion Bisworjit Saikhom of the Indian Army to win the second edition of Ironman 70.3 Goa which was held in Panjim on Sunday.
The event saw a total of 1,450 triathletes take part in the gruelling event which comprised a 1.9 km open sea swim, 90 kms of cycling and 21 kms of running to be completed in eight and a half hours.
Baig, overtook Saikhom in the last 7km of the 21-km run after trailing behind in the open water swim (1.9km) and the 90 km cycling. Happy after finishing first with an impressive time of 4 hours 29 minutes and 45 seconds, Baig said, “Last time I finished second in the first edition of Ironman 70.3 Goa, so it feels good to finish ahead of Saikhom this time.”
Meanwhile, Bishworjit clocked 04:37:21 to finish overall second, while 40-year-old Pankaj Dhiman of Delhi finished third clocking 04:40:41. “Last time, I competed in the relay event and we won, but this time I wanted to do the individual race,” Dhiman said.
Among women, Catjin Schierbeek of Switzerland finished first with the time of 05:10:46 while TimTim Sharma of Bengaluru finished second clocking 05:23:21 and Ketaki Sathe of Mumbai (05:46.51) finished third.
“It was very hot and it was a tough course, particularly the run. It also got a bit windy when we cycled but overall it was a great race,” Sharma said
In the relay, teams formed by the Indian Air Force as part of Yoska's Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative clinched the top three places. TI adventure clocked 04:29:02 while the second place went to T Services (04:32:22) and third place to TIAF Team (04:32:28).
Swiss man, Pablo Erat (51), who has been regularly participating in triathlon races in Goa for the past decade came a creditable sixth overall. Erat said, “Goa is like my second home. I have many friends here and love the atmosphere.”
Catjin Schierbeek (28) of Switzerland who finished first among women expressed her gratitude to the local triathlon community in Goa. “I arrived only two days before the event. A local cyclist lent me his cycle and the local triathlon club helped me a lot.”
Top 10 men:
1. Nihal Baig (India): 04:29:45
2. Bishworjit Saikhom (India): 04:37:21
3. Pankaj Dhiman (India): 04:40:41
4. P Ravalu (India): 04:41:36
5. A Kandikuppa (Singapore): 04:42:50
6. Pablo Erat (Switzerland): 04:44:25
7. Marcel King (Belgium): 04:45:23
8. MS Arafat (Bangladesh): 04:52:14
9. Farai Dalu (Zimbabwe): 05:00:46
10. Ujjwal Anand (India): 05:01:39
Top five women:
1. Catjin Schierbeek (Switzerland): 05:10:46
2. Tim Tim Sharma (India): 05:23:21
3.Ketaki Sathe (India): 05:46:51
4. Srivani Y V (India): 06:07:39
5. Su Yin Ong (India): 06:14:23