Papua New Guinea – The Guam Federation Triathlon National Team had a very successful showing this past weekend at the 3rd annual Pacific Island Triathlon Championship in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Despite an extremely challenging swim course that saw the participants having to navigate and avoid sharp coral in shallow water off the coast of Port Moresby,
all of Guam’s triathletes managed to come out on top in the Oceania International Triathlon Union sanctioned event.
The national team men would sweep the podium, with Gabe Lombard and Cameron O’neal taking gold and silver, respectively. Patrick Camacho, who found himself nearly 2 minutes and 30 seconds behind the third place Solomon Island triathlete heading into the run transition would put on an incredible display of grit and determination to catch him on the final 2.5k of the 10k run to steal bronze and make a strong statement for the Guam men heading into the 2015 South Pacific Games.
Guam National Champion Aysha Perez had a strong race as well finishing with a silver, but Papua New Guinea’s fastest female would edge her out with a strong bike and run to capture gold. Munoz also represented Guam proudly in the challenging race, beating out the rest of oceania’s female competitors to take home the bronz medal.
Guam’s Gold Medal Race
Racing against some of the best athletes in the region, Guam’s Gabe Lombard and Cameron O’neal found themselves behind members of team Fiji and the Solomon
Islands heading into the first transition after the 1,500 meter swim. The duo would make quick work of catching and passing the competition on the triathlon’s headwind heavy 40k bike leg, exchanging the lead several times and putting a significant gap between themselves and the rest of the pack.
“Cam was riding really strong, “ Lombard said, “since he beat me in the half-Ironman Japan a few month’s back it’s been an enjoyable, but painful, competitive back and forth between the two of us – we bring out the best in each other and I’m grateful to call him a teammate, friend and training partner.”
Coming in together to the run transition with an unofficial 1 hour and 2 minute split on the bike leg, Lombard made an early surge on the first mile of the 10k run and found enough separation to maintain the lead to the finish with a personal best time of 2:03:58 for the Olympic Distance triathlon.
“It’s so gratifying – the team has trained so hard for so many hours,” Lombard explained, “being able to bring home the championship to Guam is certainly the
highlight of my triathlon career so far and will be one of the most memorable races I’ve ever competed in.”
PNG Wins Team Gold
Despite a dominating triathlon performance, Papua New Guinea would take home the overall team gold with Guam coming in a close second place. The absence of
cycling specialist Peter Lombard, who was unable to attend due to work constraints, significantly affected Guam’s ability to accumulate points for the two championship cycling races held on Saturday and Sunday.
Despite the elder Lombard’s absence, O’neal would take a bronze home in an exciting criterium cycling race and the younger Lombard and Perez won silvers
for their efforts in the individual time trial in the men’s and women’s division, respectively. A team PNG cyclist won gold in each of the cycling races in both the
male and female categories.
Guam to host 2014 Pacific Islands Championship
It was also officially announced that Guam will be the location of the 2014 Pacific Islands Triathlon and Cycling Championships next July, which GTF is very excited about hosting.
“It was such a great experience and we’re so proud of our athletes,” said GTF President and Team Manager Mark Cruz, “we can’t wait to show our brothers and
sisters in the region all that Guam has to offer next year and really hope that the entire island gets behind this event – it’s going to be great for triathlon and cycling
in the region.”
Article from a press release.