Josh Amberger and Jeanni Seymour win first Xiamen Triathlon in China

Australian Josh Amberger and US-based South African Jeanni Seymour have powered through their field to secure victory at last Sunday’s inaugural Xiamen 70.3 triathlon. Check out the details of this exciting new race.

Josh Amberger leads from the swim

While fierce on the bike, Josh Amberger has been known to lose some speed in the run leg – but not this time. Powerful in the lead pack of the swim, Amberger sailed through the first transition and moved moving swiftly into his fastest leg of the race. As Josh made his way through the beautiful seaside course in China’s most romantic city, he was chased by a strong pack made up of Tim Don, Stuart Hayes, Justin Metzler and Pieter Heemeryck.

Xiamen 70.3 threatens Amberger’s lead

Amberger maintained his lead despite the raging pack behind him, reaching the transition with a huge gap of 4:53 between him and Tim Don. However, with his favourite part of the race – the bike – behind him, the battle began in earnest. By the 10km mark, Don had surged forward to close the margin between him and Amberger to just 1:39 and on the second-last lap, it was just 53 seconds. The Australian refused to give in and worked exceptionally hard to maintain his lead but did so in impressive style, finishing in 3:56:51, with Don behind him in 3:58:21 and Justin Metzler with 4:02:47.

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Far from it having been an easy race, Josh Amberger was thrilled with his result: “Fought tooth and nail to win #im703xiamen today in a good old fashioned slug fest with Tim Don. 2016 season over, it’s been a good one,” he said on social media last weekend. The race was also the last of a jam-packed year for Tim Don, who said: “Last 70.3 of 2016; tough year but super chuffed to finish on the podium in 2nd.” Both athletes are now ready to spend some downtime with their families and enjoy a well-deserved break.

Pallant and Seymour battle for the lead

Jeanni Seymour pushed hard through the swim, but Britain’s Emma Pallant was right on her shoulder. The two fought for the lead as the race surged onwards past the first transition. The battle continued long into the bike leg, with no clear leader emerging between the two. As the bike leg progressed, Seymour seemingly began to tire, but only slightly and Pallant flew through T2 with a 1:53 lead. Early in the run, Pallant pushed exceptionally hard and had increased her lead to a huge two minutes by the 4km mark, but suddenly she was forced to pull out of the race.

A huge victory for Seymour

As Seymour set the run pace, Sarah Piampiano began to work her way up the ranks in lap two but she wasn’t able to catch speedy Seymour who had maintained her exceptional lead. Seymour continued to work hard and finished with a time of 4:24:03 – a huge 11 seconds ahead of Sarah Piampiano 4:32:33 and her fellow American Lisa Roberts with 4:36:12.

Jeanni Seymour, the South African based in Boulder in the US, was thrilled with her result and exceptionally humble in her victory: “Such an incredible experience on such a unique course. Excited to be a part of the growth of triathlon in Asia and looking forward to coming back,” she said on social media.

The Xiamen 70.3 indicates the rapid expansion of triathlon in Asia, and China particularly. With so many athletes enjoying the picturesque seaside course, this new race is sure to become a highlight of the circuit in the years to come.

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