Saturday, February 23, 2008

Faris Proves He's The One To Beat In 2008

Faris Al-Sultan didn't have the race he'd hoped for at the Frankfurter Sparkasse Ironman European Championship in Frankfurt last year. At least he got to race there, though - a stomach bug kept him from even being able to start the race in Kona.

Which left the usually easy-going and relaxed German feeling a bit of pressure coming into this race here in Malaysia. Despite his prohibitive favorite status, he was all-too-aware that this is a race that isn’t necessarily won by the fastest athlete - the winner here is often the one who can endure the brutal conditions better than their competition.

Al-Sultan did all that and more in Langkawi today. He was second out of the water, then simply rode and ran away from the rest of the field. He made it look much easier than it should have been. The other Ironman champions in the field either succumbed to the extreme heat (Chris McDonald) or failed to pose a real challenge (Byunghoon Park and Petr Vabrousek).

In the end the only person Faris Al-Sultan had to worry about today was himself. It was his race to lose he said afterwards. He simply never let that be an option today, proving both to himself (because the rest of the world knows full well) that he remains one of the world’s premier Ironman athletes.

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