Sunday, May 14, 2023

Press Release: Desaru Coast Multisport Festival


 ·       More than 1,250 participants took part at this year’s edition

·       Harry Sinclair from Australia, finished as fastest overall male with a record time finish of 04:26:27

·       Siblings Daniel John Chen and Esther Joy Chen earn plaudits as top Malaysian finishers

·       Hong Kong’s Leanne Szeto takes home double wins as fastest female finisher at the 5150 and first finisher in her age-group at the IRONMAN 70.3

 Desaru, 14 May 2023: The increasing mass appeal of triathlon in Malaysia was showcased through the 2023 Desaru Coast Multisport Festival (DCMF), which witnessed over 1,250 participations from more than 50 countries who turned up over the weekend.

 The three-day Multisport Festival featured a host of events for beginners to seasoned athletes who participated in various events including the IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast, 5150 Triathlon Desaru Coast, Desaru Coast Sprint Triathlon and the IRONKIDS Desaru Coast.

This year’s event was made even more appealing by the fact that there were 55 qualification slots to the 2023 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland (26 & 27 August 2023).

 25 of those slots were reserved specially for women, which highlighted the intent of the organizers to encourage participation amongst budding female triathletes.

 With so many world championships slots to offer, the IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast race on Sunday turned out to be a hugely engaging affair, with close to 900 participants starting out on a 1.9km swim from The Westin Desaru Coast Resort. They soon transitioned to a 90km bike course along the long straight, shaded roads before finishing off with a 21km run that culminated with the finish line back at The Westin Desaru Coast Resort.

 Malaysian siblings Daniel John Chen and Esther Joy Chen, who had only just recovered from a Covid-19 bout last week, dominated the course as the fastest Malaysians.

 Esther, the 2022 SEA Games Triathlete who beat her older brother with a finishing time of 05:03:09, admitted she didn’t know what to expect on her debut IRONMAN 70.3 race. “I couldn’t have asked for a better performance in my first race. I didn’t expect to do this well and to outrun my brother, especially after recovering from Covid-19 a week ago.”

 Daniel meanwhile finished with a time of 05:03:44.

 Harry Sinclair was crowned the overall fastest male finisher after the Australian turned in a strong and consistent performance to cross the finish line in first place under scorching conditions in Desaru. The 26-year-old said this was the most challenging race he’d ever endured.

 “This was a big mental game and I had to keep grinding. I am glad I got it done, this is the hardest race I have ever done. It was a tactical race, I was at the front and I had to keep pushing to get the win,” said Sinclair.

 Choo Ling Er meanwhile continued to make Malaysia her happy hunting ground. The Singaporean who won last year’ IRONMAN Langkawi 70.3 came out tops in Desaru as the fastest overall female finisher with a time of 04:49:52

“It was a good day for me. The plan was to swim steady, go hard on the bike and hold on to the run for the win. The weather was brutal, but I’m from Singapore and the last three weeks we have experienced a heatwave so it was a good acclimatization for me,” she said.

 The IRONMAN 70.3 Desaru Coast oldest female finisher was Michiyo Sekiya, 62, from Japan who finished at 07:12:13, whereas the oldest male finisher was Japan-based Michael Turoczy, 70, with a finish time of 07:54:25.

 Another notable participant included 2023 SEA Games Duathlete Tahira Najmunisaa who finished 3rd in her age group of 30-39 with a finish time of 05:31:11

 While the IRONMAN 70.3 delivered as the marquee event, the fringe events such as the Sprint Triathlon and 5150 Triathlon also proved a valuable experience for participants who wanted to get a first-hand IRONMAN experience.

 The Desaru Coast Sprint Triathlon started out with a 750m swim, before transitioning to a 20km bike and finishing off with a 5km run.

 The 5150 Triathlon Desaru Coast provided a more challenging experience with a 1.5km swim, before participants headed out on a 40km bike ride and completed with a 10km run.

 For this Olympic distance category, former national triathlete Thiang Choong Yoong finished as fastest overall male finisher and fastest Malaysian with a time of 02:19:28, while Australian Leanne Szeto finished as the top female by clocking 2:24:13. Effarezan Abdul Rahman meanwhile took home the honours as the fastest Malaysian female with a time of 3:13:50.

 The IRONKIDS also provided plenty of fun for more than 70 kids who participated, with a comprehensive crew of marshals and security personnel ensuring a safe zone for the children to swim, bike and run.

 This year’s Desaru Coast Multisport Festival also served up an array of side activities for the 1,200 plus participants to enjoy throughout the weekend. It included the Milo x Wavvy Hub Surfskate Clinic, 5 Club Speed Golf and the Desaru Coast Festival Village for the weekends’ festival go-ers.

 IRONMAN Asia Managing Director Jeff Edwards said yet another successful series in Desaru only highlights the significance of this venue as a pivotal race in the IRONMAN calendar.

 “The success of back-to-back IRONMAN races here in Desaru Coast shows what an important event this is not just for Asia, but globally as well. We saw a great representation from not just Malaysians, but also triathletes from all over the world and it is an indication this race will only grow bigger and more successful,” he said.

 Desaru Coast Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Roslina Arbak pledged the venue’s commitment to hosting the IRONMAN.

 "Desaru Coast had the immense pleasure to host this three-day international sporting gala at our integrated destination resort for the second time. It was heartening for us to watch guests enjoy not only the races but also the festivities and activities throughout the three days.

 “For this reason, we are determined to continue growing the festival. In continuing our commitment to host the Desaru Coast Multisport Festival presented by IRONMAN we hope that in the years to come Desaru Coast and the state of Johor become synonymous with the IRONMAN brand in the international circuit, making sports tourism a collective pillar of success for us,” said Chief Executive Officer, Roslina Arbak.

About The IRONMAN Group    

The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and City2Surf®, UTMB® World Series events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, Epic Series™ mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events

including Haute Route®, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Catering to the full athlete experience, the company portfolio also includes FulGaz, the most realistic indoor riding experience connected fitness application aimed at preparing athletes for real-world events. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit   

 About Advance   

Advance is a private, family-held business that owns and invests in companies across media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, The IRONMAN Group, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 17,000 people in 29 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Warner Bros. Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit 

About Desaru Coast

Desaru Coast is curated as a new destination resort in Malaysia with a portfolio of globally renowned hotels and resorts, namely Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast, The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort &Villas and One&OnlyDesaru Coast. The destination is also home to Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast - one of the world’s biggest waterparks, Desaru Coast Conference Centre - a fully equipped conference facility, The Els Club Malaysia Desaru Coast – 45 holes of golf in total at two distinct courses, Ocean Course by Ernie Els and Valley Course by Vijay Singh, and Desaru Coast Riverside.

The integrated destination resort earned the accolade as one of TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places of 2021. It provides an indulgent getaway for the discerning leisure and business travelers alike. Located in the south-eastern region of the country, in the state of Johor, Desaru Coast spans over approximately 4000 acres along a pristine 17 km beachfront that faces eastwards over the clear ocean waters. The destination is set amid a rich bio-diverse location and is easily accessible via road, air and sea.

Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn. Bhd. is the master developer of Desaru Coast and is a subsidiary of Desaru Development Corporation Sdn. Bhd. within the Destination Resorts and Hotel Sdn. Bhd. (formerly known as Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd.) group of companies.

 To find out more, please visit us at and

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