On Sunday 28 October, the Australian International School Malaysia hosted their 4th Annual Interschools Triathlon. This event has children as young as five years old swimming, cycling and running, attracting around 200 participants from more than 20 schools across Kuala Lumpur. The aim of this race was to provide the children with an authentic triathlon experience, complete with finisher medals, race t-shirts and all the experiences of a full-scale race for adults, as well as introducing them to one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.
Registration began as the sun came up followed by a race briefing in the gymnasium. Eager contestants got a measure of the course while supporting parents looked on with their much-needed Sunday morning caffeine injection in hand. We were lucky and flattered to have Olympian Czech Triathlete Radka Vodickova attend our event to inspire our young athletes and offer words of encouragement. Radka has been crowned the ETU No.1 European Elite Women Athlete for the fourth year in a row.
The race day began with the Over 15s open student/parent novice race. This age group saw our more seasoned athletes and old rivals battle it out for podium positions. The category has also proven hugely popular with parents, giving them the opportunity to experience this multi-discipline event at their own pace and even enter as a team of three with each adult tackling a separate discipline.
The hotly contested races for the younger children soon got underway with boys and girls competing in separate races. The Under 6s were the first out of the gates with assistance in the transition area by appointed helpers. A lot of courage and sporting resilience was on display from this group of very young participants. The Under 8s were hot on their tails followed by the most popular age group, the Under 10s. The Under 12s were challenged with competing almost double the distance of the previous category and, as the temperature of the day began to rise, the distances weren’t the only challenge. The Under 15s rounded off the whole event with some very seriously impressive athletic talent on display, from both boys and girls. Whilst this was the first triathlon experience for many of the competitors, they all showed exceptional sportsmanship to their fellow contestants and the organisers.
Each contestant received a finisher medal presented to them by Radka Vodickova, followed by a prize-giving ceremony and a lucky draw. The lucky draw gifts and trophies were generously donated by our sponsors. A traditional Aussie sausage sizzle was available to all participants and cooling refreshments were plentiful and appreciated by the exhausted but happy kids.
AISM is ideally situated to host such an event because the school is located in a closed housing estate that enables the triathletes to utilise the school pool, transition in the car park area, complete the cycle leg and run safely on the private land surrounding the campus.
The organisers of the event wish to thank all who participated, including their supporting families, and the many sponsors who contributed to making this a great experience for our young triathletes. See you all again next year.
Source: The Expat December 2012
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