Malaysian Triathletes competing at the 2018 IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi this year consists of a whopping 29% from the 2,400 athletes who battle the ultimate Triathlon in Malaysia, in the challenging backdrop of the historical island.

Approximately 720 Malaysian participants will bid to make an impact this year, a significant rise from the 600 who competed last year.

IRONMAN has inspired the Malaysian community greatly because it appeals to all walks of life. Bear in mind, the evolution to becoming an accomplished IRONMAN is as long and gruelling as the windy and hilly terrain of Langkawi. Triathletes start with a 3.9km swim in the open sea, progressing into 180km of cycling two loops around the island and finishing with a 42km marathon run to be deemed an IRONMAN.

Shahrom Abdullah will be vying for the Best Malaysian title at IRONMAN Malaysia.

This year, two men stand out from the 720 local participants.

Shahrom Abdullah and Mohd Amran Abdul Ghani, will be vying for the Best Malaysian title in Langkawi. The Kelantan-born Shahrom is back to defend his Best Malaysian Male title, won in comprehensive fashion after he finished with a time of 10:19:50’ last year.

Shahrom has been aggressively preparing for a second consecutive title in the iconic, yet challenging backdrop of Langkawi Island.

“I have been consistently at the top of the duathlon and Powerman scene for many years. Finishing as the first Malaysian at the last year’s IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi certainly motivated me to come back and defend this year’s title,” said Shahrom.

The 39-year-old runs a bicycle shop he owns for a living, and even though he finds his hands literally full with work, never compromises training.

“Due to work, I start my training early. Time management is the key for me, as I also coach my students who are participating at the IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi at night.”

“To maintain my energy levels, I usually consume energy gels and bars. But during long bike rides, I consume raw honey to keep my body going.”

Mohd Amran Ghani is out to stake a claim at the Best Malaysian title of IRONMAN Malaysia.

One challenger who is set to give Shahrom a big run for his money is Mohd Amran Abdul Ghani, a two-time Best Malaysian at the IRONMAN Malaysia, Langkawi.

After reigning supreme in 2014 and 2016, this firefighter was recovering from an accident and had to take a break from competing in 2017. But he is back for another crack at domestic domination. Reclaiming the title won’t be easy, with Shahrom also fired-up to defend his title.

So, how does Amran gauge his chances against Shahrom?

“The stress and pressure is high, especially when you have won the Best Malaysian Category twice. Everyone from your family to your office and sponsors are counting on you to deliver your best at all times,” concedes Amran.

“Which is why I believe the best way to deal with stress and pressure is making sure I get plenty of rest. I also have to maintain a healthy and balanced diet in order to help me recover from the vigorous training.”

The seven-time Powerman Malaysia champion also has advice for budding triathlon athletes who are competing at IRONMAN Malaysia.

“I would suggest you start with 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi first. Once you have been accustomed to the distance, you can start on the full IRONMAN Malaysia.”

Lim Chee Yong was Malaysia’s sole representative at the recent IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii.

Another Triathlete thrown into the mix is Lim Chee Yong, who finished as the Best Langkawi-an at last year’s edition. The self-taught swimmer also made history by qualifying for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii recently.

“I’m proud to represent Langkawi and Malaysia in my BIGGEST DREAM race ever. I have a proper training plan provided by my coach, Aldrian Yeo since March 2018. I train twice a day, morning and evening before coaching, and that includes swimming 3-4 times a week, biking 4-5 times a week and running 5-6 times a week.”

“I will try my very best to finish strong in one of the toughest race in the world and make Langkawi and Malaysia proud” affirmed the Langkawi native, 21.

Just after a gruelling competition at the IRONMAN World Championship in KONA, the active and adventurous Chee Yong, is coming back to “warm down” at the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 Langkawi.

‘Anything is possible’ reads the IRONMAN tagline, and that is what all 2,400 participants will preach as they strive to make an impact this year. All those hours dedicated to training will not easily come undone.

There is only two ways about it, go hard or go home.