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Sports

Ironman 70.3 stars descend on host Davao

Abac Cordero - Associated Press
Ironman 70.3 stars descend on host Davao

Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte (fourth from left) poses with officials, sponsors and organizers of the first Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao during the unveiling of the finishers’ medal monument in Davao City. They are (from left) Jun Bisnar, COO of Ayala Land Visayas and Mindanao; Gutz Gutierez, Alveo Land’s head for project development and sales and marketing; Wilfred Uytengsu, president of Sunrise Events Inc., Kublai Millan, Mindanao artist, and Mikey Aportadera, head of Davao City Sports. Jun Mendoza

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The King City of the South has rolled out the red carpet for the Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao, a weekend of top-caliber and fun-filled races for triathletes of all ages.

“We welcome you all whole-heartedly,” declared Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte yesterday.

Five international triathlon champions in the men’s elite and a number of local celebrities banner the cast in the 1.9K swim, 90K bike and 21K run event, which Duterte described as a “proud moment for the Dabawenyos.”

Duterte said since she became mayor of Davao City in 2012, it has been her intention to host the event that was first put in 2009 by Sunrise Events, Inc. headed by businessman and certified triathlete Wilfred Steven Uytengsu.

“Since my first term, I’ve been wanting to do the Ironman here. Now, the Ironman is here. I’m happy and excited,” said the presidential daughter.

She ensured the safety of the close to 1,800 participants, including foreign professionals, saying the Philippine National Police has drawn up security plans for the country’s biggest triathlon event since December.

Most of the participants, especially the foreigners, are in town, and have flocked daily to the Azuela Cove Davao City, where the weekend races will take place.

A concrete statue of an “agung,” a wide-rimmed gong used by the people of Mindanao, was unveiled yesterday, where the names of all finishers will be inscripted for posterity.

This marks the first time Ironman Philippines is staging a race in Mindanao, and this early, expectations are very high. It will also feature the best that the entire Davao Region has – tourist destinations, food, arts, music, culture and tradition, products, among others.

It will start in Davao City up to Tagum City in Davao del Norte, passing through the town of Carmen and the City of Panabo.

Leading the elite cast are Craig Alexander (Australia), Tim Reed (Australia), Mauricio Mendez (Australia), Benny Allen (Australia), Bradley Weiss (South Africa), and Radka Vodickova (Czech Republic).

Princess Galura, general manager of SEI, the official organizer of the Alveo Ironman, said that local celebrities such as Wilfred Uytengsu, Matteo Guidicelli, Kim Atienza and Bubbles Paraiso will also be competing in the event which drew a total of 1,800 racers from 39 countries.

“In the 10 years, we at Sunrise Events have expanded our races in the Philippines. But we can’t truly say that we’ve been through the Philippines if not for races in Luzon, the Visayas and now, Mindanao,” said Uytengsu.

“The birth of Alveo Ironman comes on our 10th anniversary,” added Uytengsu, who had seen successful Ironman races in Camarines Sur, Subic and Cebu over the past decade.

Mayor Duterte said the city has prepared for the event, from the venue, up to the security that will be implemented during the triathlon event.

“We have prepared for this three-day event since last year and everybody, all the Dabawenyos, and our neighboring LGUs in Davao del Norte are ready to welcome all our guests, athletes and our visitors,” she added.

Mayor Duterte is also hopeful that tourists and visitors would appreciate the richness of Davao City and other local government units’ culture in their stay during the event.

“I hope they have a pleasant stay in Davao City and they enjoy Davao City as well as the other parts of the region,” said Duterte.

Organizers have prepared special medals for the finishers, crafted by Kublai Millan, a prolific artist from Mindanao.

The medal, according to the artist, depicts the Philippine national anthem, and the words “Duyan ng Magiting” (cradle of the brave) are inscribed.

Races are on tap for three days here, including yesterday’s IronGirls race and today’s IronKids swim-bike-run, heading to tomorrow’s Ironman, a lung-busting event covering 1.9 kms of swim, 90 kms of bike and 21 kms of run.

“It’s not just Sunday’s big event. It’s the entire weekend,” said Uytengsu.

The race will officially start at 6 a.m., with a 1.9-km swim course along the coastline of the Azuela Cove located at the former Alcantara property at the intersection of R. Castillo and J.P. Laurel Ave. It will be followed by the 90-km bike course from Azuela Cove to Robinsons Tagum and back to Azuela Cove.

For the run course, a 21-km two loop race will use the northbound lane of J.P. Laurel Avenue from the corner of F. Torres St. up to the corner of R. Castillo St.

ALVEO IRONMAN 70.3

DAVAO CITY

KING CITY OF THE SOUTH

SARA DUTERTE

WILFRED STEVEN UYTENGSU

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