57 countries to join Cebu Ironman 70.3 triathlon
CEBU CITY –– At least 57 countries will join this Sunday’s Cebu Ironman 70.3 – biggest global participation to the triathlon event.
At least 2,190 athletes are participating in the swim-bike-run race in Cebu that will cover the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu, and Talisay.
While the number of participants was about the same as last year, more flags would be raised this year, said Sunrise Events general manager Princess Galura in a press briefing on Thursday.
Aside from the Philippines’ 1,404 participants, the countries with the biggest delegation included 129 athletes from Japan, 80 from Singapore, 66 from Malaysia, 62 from Thailand, and 53 from the United States.
Cebuanos were advised to take note of the road closures that would affect the four cities from 6 a.m. to noon.
Those heading to the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu would have to take alternate routes to catch their flights.
About 20 triathlon professionals will join the Cebu Ironman 70.3, including 23-year-old defending champion Mauricio Mendez of Mexico.
He will compete against top international triathlon stars, such as Australians Tim Van Berkel and Tim Reed; Eric Watson of Bahrain, Jakob Langhammer of Czech Republic, and returning athlete Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand.
The female pros this year include Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen, Dimity Lee Duke of Australia, Beth McKenzie of the United States, and Frankie Sanjana of Great Britain, among others.
The athletes will compete in a 1.9-km swim course at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa for the first round.
They will then transition to a 90-km bike course traversing major roads including the Marcelo Fernan Bridge in Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue cities, and the South Coastal Roads in Cebu and Talisay cities.
Culminating the race would be a 21-km run at the Punta Engano in Lapu-Lapu City on Mactan Island.
Organizers said they were expecting fine weather on Sunday as they hoped that athletes would be able to compete in all three races.
If sea conditions become unfavorable, Galura said they could cancel or shorten the swim courses.
If these contingencies happen, it will not affect the qualifying of athletes in the world championships in New Zealand.
The Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Cebu will also serve as the first leg of the qualifying rounds for the world championships to be held in Taupo, New Zealand in 2020. Around 60 slots are available for the qualifiers. /lzb
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.