Mohammad Shamsuzzaman Arafat, Bangladesh's first triathlete, added another feather to his success as he flew the Bangladeshi flag for the first time at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship held on September 18, 2021, in St. George, Utah, USA.
He stood 153rd out of 288 contestants in his age category.
Arafat took 5 hours and 15 minutes to complete which was 15 minutes less than his target this time.
"I was trying to represent Bangladesh in the global stage of the triathlon. It's been a great pleasure for me, people from around the world cheered Bangladesh. We are far behind the biggest global races and I am extremely happy to be there and finish it strong. I hope next time we will improve more and more participants will join there and do better performance," Arafat told The Business Standard after his successful campain.
There were a total of 3438 participants in the competition. Each competitor has to swim 1.9km first, then 90km cycling and finally complete a half marathon of 21.1km. According to the competition rules, all of these have to be completed within eight and a half hours.
He has been training hard for almost seven years for the Ironman campaign. Arafat swam across the Bangla Channel seven times (from Teknaf to St. Martin, 16 km). He also took part in various marathons at home and abroad.
The finalists of the tournament were selected based on the performance of athletes participating in the Ironman Championships, which are held throughout the year.
Expatriate Bangladeshis came to encourage Arafat in the competition.
Arafat continues to embark on this extraordinary dream journey with almost a single effort, which is another example for young athletes. Meghna Group of Industries, Akash DTH, DHS Motors and Bangladesh Finance Limited provided financial support to Arafat's campaign.