The 44-year-old pediatric surgeon at the finish line earlier this month in Muscat Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A Dubai surgeon has tackled the half Ironman World Championship, an ultra-triathlon held annually in developed countries. It is organised by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) with local support in cities where it is held.

Dr Venkatesh M Annigeri, Consultant Pediatric Surgeon at NMC Hospital, took part in the fitness event for the third time on Febraury 4. The Indian expat travelled from Dubai to Muscat in Oman for the event.

The challenge - which involves 1.9km of swimming in the sea, 90km of cycling and 21.1km running - has to be completed by contestants in a time limit of 8.3 hours. Dr Annigeri was successful in completing the challenge in a time of 7.3 hours.

“This is one of the world’s most challenging and toughest one-day sporting events to take part in. I am so glad I could complete it... I am proud that I finished in 7.30 hours,” he said.

This makes Dr Annigeri one of the first paediatric surgeons from Asia to complete this event.

He has now participated in the event three times in a row. “The first time I participated in the event was in 2019 just before the [COVID-19] pandemic. All three times I have participated in Oman.”

He concluded the challenge this time in 7.30 hours, much faster than his 8.45 hours last year in the championship.

Dr Annigeri, who completed both his MS graduation in general surgery and super specialisation (M.Ch) in paediatric surgery from India, said preparation for the contest took a lot of time.

Making sacrifices

“I stopped attending family functions in order to dedicate my time. Every day, after working 10 to 12 hours, I would hit the gym or swim. A challenge was also the fact that I am not very young. At 44, preparing for a mega fitness event can be tough. But I just dedicated time and effort for this. I competed with myself. The challenge was to beat my own record. It was not about competing with anyone else,” said Dr Annigeri, who trained in paediatric urology from Children’s Hospital, in Columbus, USA.

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The preparation

Dr Annigeri said he worked on his core muscles heavily. He combined a number of workouts, including running, swimming, walking, yoga, biking.

“This meant being away from the family. So sometimes I roped in my son to join me on some of my workouts. I also went to the gym two times a week for weight training. The challenge was to switch to running.”

Dr Annigeri said the challenge is especially difficult because it involves shifting from one sport to another in a set period of time.

“Each workout involves the use of certain muscles. To switch working the muscles in a time frame is hard,” he added.

Family support

Dr Annigeri said his family stood by his side in his endeavour. He added that his wife Dr Rashmi Annigeri, an anaesthesiologist at NMC Royal Hospital DIP, was a huge support. As was his son Srikrishna Annigeri, a Grade 5 student of Bright Riders School in Dubai, who also ran at the challenge.

Dr. VenkaTesh son Sri Krishna-1677563774404
Father and son celebrate their achievement Image Credit: Supplied

“The triathlon event through the years has helped families to encourage participants at the challenge. My son also took part in the [children's section] of the event and he also did it to show his support and encouragement for me.”