Yee Sze Mun, 86, bids farewell to triathlon

There was no last hurrah for Yee Sze Mun as he had to abandon his final Ironman race in Langkawi, Kedah, today.

The oldest triathlete in the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, the 86-year-old Malaysian’s bicycle chain broke, and he suffered damages to his seat.

After a quick fix, Yee unfortunately fell over while trying to remount. It was a disappointing end, as Yee wanted to cross the finish line to bring the curtains down on his career.

Despite not finishing his final Ironman 70.3 race, Yee was still upbeat.

For the record, ‘70.3’ refers to the total distance in miles (or 113km) covered in the race, consisting of a 1.2-mile (1.9km) swim, a 56-mile (90km) bike ride, and a 13.1-mile (21.1km) run.

“It was not how I envisioned my final race to end, but it is okay,” said the former businessman.

“I had not competed in the Ironman since 2017. Many of those from my age group were not at the start line.

“It was a little lonely, but I gave it my best shot. My journey as a triathlete has come to an end. I will have some cold beers to celebrate my achievements in this sport.”

Describing himself as “a free man now”, Yee said he would not have to follow such a strict “training regime” but will continue to keep fit.

“No more training for races, just going to the gym to stay healthy,” said Yee.

Meanwhile, newly married couple Josh Amberger and Ashleigh Gentle earned themselves a fairytale finish after winning the men’s and women’s Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship titles.

Amberger hogged the limelight in the men’s category after turning in a majestic performance to finish in 3’50:47s under testing conditions.

Gentle completed a magnificent day for their household as she finished in 4’10:17s, almost six minutes ahead of her closest competitor.

Teh Kuok Yen clocked 4’32:13s to be the fastest Malaysian male, while national triathlete, Esther Joy Chen finished with 5’07:39s to become the quickest local female.

Besides a total prize purse of US$75,000 and bragging rights, there were 40 qualifying slots for the 2024 VinFast Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand.

Separately, there were also 70 qualifying slots available for the 2024 VinFast Ironman World Championships from the Ironman Malaysia that took place concurrently with the Asia-Pacific Championship.

For the Ironman Malaysia, competitors had to swim 3.8km, ride 180km and complete a marathon – 42.2km.

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