Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Kent ‘Bob’ Gabourel wins annual Lionman triathlon in Belize City


Kent Gabourel, local triathlete, dominated in the 14th annual Lionman Triathlon held on Sunday, September 1st. 33-year-old Gabourel placed first in the individual male category, and first in the top 10 finishers. But Gabourel was not the only San Pedro athlete to make his mark at the Lionman Triathlon; Jordan Santos also took first place in the junior category.

Lionman Triathlon Gabourel Santos Shine-3
Photo by David O’Shea, Dateline SBS, Australia.

The Lionman Triathlon started at the Sandlighters Promenade in Belize City. Over 46 athletes came prepared to go the distance and complete a 1500 meter swim, a 24 mile cycle ride and a 16 mile run to win the grand championship. The race was divided into five categories: individual male, individual female, junior, masters and relay team. The Lionman Triathlon is a test to the endurance and stamina of the athletes, and since its inception in 2000, has been a highly anticipated September Celebration Calendar event.

Lionman Triathlon Gabourel Santos Shine-4
San Pedro’s young team: Jordan, Keian and Royan

Cycling, running and swimming are individually quite exhausting, but the determined athletes completed all three events within mere hours. In the junior category, Jordan Santos dominated in all three disciplines, earning a clean win. At 15 years of age, Jordan is also the youngest athlete to complete all three disciplines, in the Lionman Triathlon. Jordon also competed in the relay team category along with Keian Ancona and Royan Mendez. “The race was tiring but I had put in my mind that I would complete it. I just wanted to make my family and my trainer proud. I was so glad when I crossed the finish line,” said Jordan, who said that the hardest part of the race was cycling. “I am not a strong cycler, I had little practice in that discipline.” Despite how hard the race was, Jordan is thankful to have participated. “I want to thank everyone that supported me, especially Kent. I look forward to competing in future races.”

Lionman Triathlon Gabourel Santos Shine-1
Top 3 finishers (l-r) : Kenroy Gladden (2nd), Luigi Urbina (3rd) and Kent Gabourel (1st).

Ramon Figueroa completed the race in two hours 44 minutes and 42 seconds winning first place in the master’s category and third place in the top 10 finishers. In the individual male category, Gabourel rose to the top with a time of two hours 33 minutes and 30 seconds. Coming an extremely close second was Kenroy Gladden, with a time of two hours, 33 minutes and 34 seconds. Rounding out the third place spot was Luigi Urbina.

In the individual female category, Belize’s top female athlete Shalini Zabaneh won first place for the second time. Australian Dimintry Gannon took second place, while Kerah Eiley placed third. In the relay category, Team “Sagitun”, Shalini Zabaneh, Brandon Cattouse and Rondre Lewis took first. In second place was Team “Smooth Sailing”, Kerah Eiley, Byron Pope and Alexander Alvarado, and taking third place was Team “San Cas”, Denise Diaz, Giovanni Leslie and Louis Hauze.

“It wasn’t an easy race, it was hard and competitive,” said a tired but elated Gabourel. “My confidence was high after swimming, and I am a good rider, so in my transition to running I knew I was going to win.” Having competed over the past three years, winning on his third attempt was emotional for Gabourel. “To all the youth that want to compete, just put your mind to it and you will succeed. It’s all about focus,” said Gabourel. He was especially proud of young Santos. “Even with my win, the person that surprised me was Jordan. He only trained for a couple of weeks and yet performed amazingly.”

Gabourel enjoys taking youngsters under his wing, encouraging them to participate in events outside of home. “I would prefer to show them the benefits of sports and athletics than to have them be idle,” he said. Jordan Santos is a clear example of what encouragement can achieve. “After Casey Bateman’s swim camp, Jordan decided that he wanted to train and compete,” said Gabourel. “I also learned a lot of techniques from Casey, and I know that is what helped me at this competition.”

Gabourel says that he also owes much thanks to the Smith College ladies who visited San Pedro Town for the annual Coral Ed-Ventures Program. “I practiced swimming with them during their stay, getting up for 6AM to swim every day.” That persistence and dedication certainly paid off, as Gabourel not only found himself on the podium, where he hoped he would be, but rather, he was front and center with the first place trophy in hand.

While Gabourel undertakes the various competitive events at his own cost many times, he would like to thank those who helped pave the way to the 2013 Lionman. Thanks to Tropic Air’s Gary Grief, Susana Eiley, Clive Welsh, The San Pedro Town Council, Emil Vasquez (San Pedro High School Principal), Giovanni Alamilla, Caye Caulker Water Taxi and Kaya Cattouse, plus everyone who brought raffle tickets during his fundraiser to ensure that he, Jordan, Keian, and Royan were able to travel to compete. Gabourel also thanks his wife Minellie Rosado for her support during his many events.

For sports enthusiasts on the island, a bicycle race is scheduled on Sunday, September 8th. The race is being held as a fundraiser to enable a group to travel to Punta Gorda to compete on September 21st (Independence Day). Don’t miss an opportunity to show your encouragement for sports and healthy activity.

The San Pedro Sun congratulates Kent and Jordan on their big win and encourages Keian and Royan to continue on their athletic path. To all aspiring athletes keep up the hard work!

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