Javier Gomez, nine-time triathlon world champion, cemented his status as the greatest triathlete in history after shattering the course record to clinch the 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia title in emphatic fashion.
The Spaniard with nine world titles crossed the finish line in a stunning 8:18:58, to eclipse the course record set by 2017 champion Romain Guillaume (8:32:54) in 2017.
Switzerland’s Philipp Koutny finished behind him in 8:24:18, while Brazil’s Thiago Vinhal took third place with an 8:31:15 finish.
A history-making day also witnessed Netherlands’ first year pro, Tessa Kortekaas winning the women’s elite category in 9:43:20 in her first year as a professional.
36-year-old Gomez – the 2012 Olympics silver medalist – was delighted to secure his first IRONMAN title under scorching conditions, and plans to use this win to prepare for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
“I raced well in the heat which is important to me. Now is time to take a break for the off-season. I will prepare for Tokyo after that.”
Gomez also earned an automatic slot to the 2020 IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, Hawaii next year.
Kortekaas, meanwhile, was coming to terms to digest a monumental victory in her first year as a professional female athlete.
“It’s not easy, not many professionals will reach this goal in the first year. I cannot believe it, I have no words,” said the former age-grouper world champion.
The 2019 IRONMAN Malaysia started off with an open water swim start from the picturesque white sandy beach of Pantai Kok with a two-loop triangle out and back course. The athletes followed with a two-loop bike course heads out of Pantai Kok on to a clockwise loop from towards the rolling hills of Datai and the fringes of Kuah Town.
Returning from the bike route, athletes made their changeover on to the run course through a unique indoor air-conditioned transition at the Mahsuri International Exhibition Center (next to the airport). The 2.5 lap run course fulfilled the promise of an amazing scenic run beside the Langkawi International Airport towards the finish line at the stunning Cenang beach.