#The two-day event attracts more than 1,000 participants

The two-day Putrajaya Aquafest was successfully held last weekend at the Water Sports Complex in Precinct 6, with open water swimmer Lim Kai Yi and triathlete Isaac Tan emerging as the biggest winners in their respective races.

The Putrajaya Aquafest, organised by NX113 and supported by Putrajaya Corporation, featured two separate events: the 16km Ultra Marathon Open Water Swimming on Saturday and the Putrajaya Aquathlon on Sunday.

In the 16km Open Water Ultra Marathon event, Perak state swimmer Kai Yi claimed victory, finishing with a time of 3:10:28, while Spain’s Jose Luis Larrosa Chorro (3:19:28) and Chelsea Ning Lee (3:24:38) took the second and third positions.

Kai Yi, who won a silver medal in 5km at the Southeast Asian Open Water Swimming Championships in early February this year at the same venue, was proud of his achievement.

“This was my first 16km open water attempt. Initially, I was only targeting a podium finish, and I never expected to win at all,” said Kai Yi, who is coached by former national long-distance champion Kevin Yeap.

“I want to thank ‘coach Kevin’ for helping me with the last-minute preparation that took three weeks. Even though I made a last-minute decision, ‘coach Kevin’ was fully supportive and encouraged me to try.”

Based on the standings, Chelsea emerged as the fastest female participant in the event, consolidating her reputation as the country’s top female open water swimmer.

At 19, Chelsea had already completed a grueling 33-kilometre ultra-marathon swim in June at Le Flow Des Gabarriers in France.

Overall, the Putrajaya Aquafest was a success, as it gathered over 1,000 participants to compete for honours on both days at the Putrajaya Lake.

This included members of the public who took part in a leisurely 300m mass swim on Saturday morning.

It was a unique opportunity offered by Putrajaya Corporation and NX113 for the public to experience swimming in the picturesque Putrajaya Lake.

This collective effort was not only intended to promote Putrajaya as a tourist destination but also to highlight open water swimming as a competitive sport. It has been a regular fixture at the Olympics since the Beijing Games in 2008.

Meanwhile, Isaac Tan upheld his status as Malaysia’s top triathlete by winning the National Aquathlon Championships held in conjunction with the Putrajaya Aquafest.

The NX113 Putrajaya Aquathlon consisted of four categories: Standard (1.5km swim/10km run), Sprint (750m swim/5km run), Super Sprint (500m swim/2.5km run), and KiTS (50m swim/500m run).

The KiTS event was specifically for young athletes aged between 6 and 10.
The Malaysian Triathlon Association chose the Sprint category as the national championships event.

Isaac, 18, won the men’s Elite Sprint category with a time of 31:13 seconds, overcoming his closest rival, Amri Ikhsaan Yazdani (32:09). It was Isaac’s second national title of the year.

In July, Isaac, who represented Malaysia at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, also dominated the National Triathlon Championships at NX113 Triathlon Desaru.

“I’m delighted with this victory, and it comes at the right time as I’m preparing for two rounds of the Asia Triathlon Cup in Kota Kinabalu and Hong Kong in November,” said Isaac.

“However, I believe I can improve my timing. I couldn’t run well because my feet had blisters.

“I’ll attempt to achieve a more impressive time when I compete in the National Duathlon Championships next month (a combination of cycling and running) on November 26 in Seremban.

“I need to put on a more energetic performance if I want to become the national champion for the third time as I’ll be up against formidable triathletes.”

Meanwhile, Mah Yan Zhi crossed the finish line in 38:29 to top the women’s Elite Sprint event.

The men’s and women’s Elite Super Sprint categories were won by Ethan Tan (18:12) and Nuramaysaa Ayub (21:26).

Although the Standard category was a non-elite event, Nurulhafizan Zainudin demonstrated her exceptional talent by emerging as the overall champion with a time of 49:38. The two-day event is sponsored by Stratford Capital Berhad.

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