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Aerospace engineer Nihal Baig wins IRONMAN 70.3 Goa 2022 title

Baig dethroned defending champion Bishworjit Saikhom of the Indian Army who finished second. Tim Tim Sharma became the first Indian female to cross the finish line.

Aerospace engineer Nihal Baig wins IRONMAN 70.3 Goa 2022 title

Nihal Baig (Source: Twitter/Anil Kumar Mishra)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 14 Nov 2022 12:54 PM GMT

The IRONMAN 70.3 Goa 2022 was flagged off by Tejaswi Surya (Bengaluru MP), VS Ganeshan (Director of Marketing, Herbalife Nutrition India), along with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.

In an exciting finish, IIT Bombay Alumni, Nihal Baig pipped defending champion Bisworjit Saikhom of Indian Army to win the second edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Goa which was flagged off at the Miramar Beach, Panaji by Goa's Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Sunday.

Over 1450 participants added to the fervor of the race which is a qualifying event for the IRONMAN World Championships and participants are required to complete a grueling 1.9km open sea swim, 90 kms cycling and 21 kms running.

One of the stand-out features of this edition was the age diversity. From 64 year-old veterans, to 17-year-old youngsters, people of different ages showed up and took part in this excruciating yet rewarding race.

Baig, who works as an aerospace engineer with MSCI Mumbai, overtook Saikhom in the last 7km of the 21km run after trailing behind in the open water swim (1.9km) and the 90km cycling. Ecstatic after finishing overall first with an impressive time of 4hours 29minutes and 45seconds, Baig said, "Last time I finished second in the first edition of IRONMAN 70.3 Goa, so it feels good to finish ahead of Saikhom this time. My swim is a little weak but my running is fast and in the previous edition I could cover-upto 7minutes in running so I knew I could overtake him in the run."

Having completed five half IRONMAN races so far, Baig said this is among the most challenging races he has participated in. "I think the uphill cycle course and the elevation in the running course makes this a very challenging race but I really enjoy the atmosphere here in Goa," he said.
Meanwhile, Bishworjit clocked 04:37:21 to finish overall second while 40-year-old Pankaj Dhiman of Delhi finished third clocking 04:40:41. "Last time I competed in the relay event and we won but this time I wanted to do the individual race. I will be racing in Tel Aviv in the next 10 days for a full distance IRONMAN and I thought this race would be good preparation for the full distance. It's great that we have an opportunity to qualify for the World Championships here, as I feel we stand a better chance here than in races abroad," stated Pankaj Dhiman after the race.
Among the women, Catjin Schierbeek of Switzerland finished first with the time of 05:10:46 while Tim Tim Sharma of India finished behind her clocking 05:23:21 and Ketaki Sathe (05:46.51) finished overall third in the women's category.
"It was hot, and it was a tough course, particularly the run. It also got a bit windy when we cycled but overall it was a great race and I am happy to be the first to finish among Indian women," expressed Bangalore's Tim Tim Sharma, a seasoned marathoner. "My brother, my parents and friends are all here to cheer me and support me. I absolutely would like to see more women take up this event," added Sharma.
In the relay, teams formed by the Indian Air Force as part of Yoska's Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative clinched the top three places. TI adventure clocked 04:29:02 while the second place went to T Services (04:32:22) and third place to TIAF Team (04:32:28).
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