Three in top 10 Rachel Joyce turns in best performance with fifth-place finish Konu, Hawaii // The Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team lived up to their billing as one of the world's top endurance squads this weekend by posting three top-10 finishes at the Ironman World Championship. The UK's Rachel Joyce, the team's sole entry in the women's professional category, snatched an impressive fifth place - one better than her 2009 showing - with a time of 9hours 18mins and 48secs.
The sport's pinnacle event in Kona was won by Australia's Mirinda Carfrae, with Switzerland's Caroline Steffen and Abu Dhabi International Triathlon winner, Julie Dibens of the UK, rounding off the podium positions. In the elite men's category,the Abu Dhabi duo of Pete Jacobs and Faris al Sultan clinched ninth and 10th respectively, capping a second consecutive double top-10 finish for the two at the gruelling invite-only event.
Jacobs clocked a time of 8:23.26 and al Sultan, the captain of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA)-backed team, finished in 8:24.04, just under 15 minutes off the pace of now two-time champion Chris McCormack of Australia. "To have the team perform so well, and after such a demanding season, is credit to all involved and serves as a clear indication of just how far we have come and how much we have overcome in the last 12 months," al Sultan, who lives in Al Ain, said.
"I am very satisfied with my performance although I had initially hoped to finish in the top five, but due to injury I suffered in early summer, I missed a lot of running workouts. In spite of this, the short distance between me and Chris isn't much and this gives me a lot of hope that I can do better next year." Joyce was the real star with her top-five finish as she had spent the first half of the season out with injury. With the women's category weakened by the last-minute withdrawal of Chrissie Wellington, the race favourite and three-time champion, Joyce seized the advantage and got off to a scorching start in the energy-sapping 3.8km Kailua Bay swim and appeared to be heading for a shock win by coming out of the water first.
However, a lack of training due to the early season injury became apparent as she fought gallantly to hold her place, until she was overtaken by Dibens and Steffen in the latter stages. "This was a perfect finish for me in a season filled with a lot of ups and downs," Joyce said.