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Special Olympics Triathletes Battle It Out at Challenge Family Triathlon

Triathlon Paves the Way for Inclusive Sport at the 3rd Annual Special Olympics European Open Triathlon
an athlete in a blue camouflage uniform and a bike helmet walks alongside his bicycle
Triathlon Paves the Way for Inclusive Sport at the 3rd Annual Special Olympics European Open Triathlon.

From18-19 May, the 3rd Annual Special Olympics European Open Triathlon took place in Samorin, Slovakia as part of Challenge Family’s The Championship triathlon.

23 Special Olympics triathletes from 8 different Programs (Finland, Florida (USA), Germany, Guatemala, Israel, Monaco, Netherlands and Slovakia) participated in The Championship event. Endurance being key, the athletes completed a 750-meter swim followed by a 20-kilometer bike ride and 5-kilometer run to the finish line.

Before the actual competition, the triathletes and their coaches took time on 17 May to familiarize themselves with the course to strategize about how the triathletes can compete at their best on race day.

Special Olympics athlete smiling while crossing the finish line

Former Special Olympics triathlete and Special Olympics International manager of Sport and Development, Kester Edwards, was in Samorin for the The Championship. “Special Olympics Israel’s Ron Beck and Special Olympics Slovakia’s Peter Ispold stood out as good role models for other Special Olympics athletes to look up to in this sport. Ron finished first overall for the annual event with Peter not far behind in second as the two pushed the competitive edge throughout the whole race.

“Looking ahead to 2027 Special Olympics World Games in Santiago, Chile, the Challenge Family series races are a great way for athletes to get more familiarization in competing in triathlons.”

Special Olympics Slovakia supported the 3rd Annual event and had their team members at points all along the racecourse lending guidance and encouragement to the athletes as they swam, biked and ran. At the conclusion of the race, athletes joined together to celebrate one another and attended an award ceremony for the top finishers from each age/gender category.

Special Olympics Slovakia athlete swimming in open water

Results from the 3rd Annual Special Olympics European Open Triathlon

Female, Age Category – Open

Esmee-Anne De MeulmeesterSO Netherlands1:20:35 (1st)
Jolein BoomSO Netherlands1:29:28 (2nd)
Anni AaltoSO Finland1:41: 26 (3rd)
Maya FletcherSO Florida2:00:16 (4th)
Male, Age Category, C (16-25 y.o.)
Ron BeckSO Israel1:10:21 (1st)
Leo RawstorneSO Finland1:29:46 (2nd)
Frankie RusselSO Florida1:39:03 (3rd)
Andrej PetrikSO Slovakia2:05:27 (4th)
Odir Efrain Enriquez FrancoParticipant
Male, Age Category, D (16-29 y.o.)
Jaakko MikkonenSO Finland1:24:58 (1st)
Stefan WeltSO Germany1:36:06 (2nd)
Denis KnapcokSO Slovakia1:38:21 (3rd)
Roman WachterSO Germany1:54:02 (4th)
Zachary Deonath SO Florida2:17:46 (5th)
Male, Age Category, E (30+ y.o.)
Peter IspoldSO Slovakia1:15:13 (1st)
Stephane KelkalSO Monaco1:25:58 (2nd)
Luis Oswaldo Ramirez ArevaloSO Guatemala1:30:13 (3rd)
Thomas DesperiesSO Monaco1:32:35 (4th)
Daniel Arturo Guerra RubioSO Guatemala1:32:41 (5th)
Lukas VosatkoSO Slovakia1:40:51 (6th)
Leevi SalmiSO Finland1:59:04 (7th)
Robert TomecekSO Slovakia2:10:32 (8th)


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