Freeman Cebu Sports

Cebu draws a strong pro field

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — A merry mix of pro and seasoned triathletes and first timers from around the world are gearing up for the Ironman 70.3 Lapu-Lapu presented by MegaworldThe Mactan Newtown on Sunday, April 21.

“We are very excited for the return to Ironman racing in Lapu-Lapu,” said Lapu-Lapu City Rep Ma. Cynthia “Cindi” King-Chan. “It coincides with the city’s month-long celebration of the 503rd Victory at Mactan, thus making it more festive and memorable.”

In all, 31 pros form part of the over 1,400 participants from 55 countries that will gather in the historic resort city to vie for the highest honors in the first 70.3 professional race in Asia this year.

Olympians, world record holders, and new guns from countries including the United States, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, New Zealand, Taiwan, and South Africa will be racing for the top spot.

Daniel Bakkegard of Denmark, the course best time holder at Ironman 70.3 Dubai (3:33:02 finish time), and South African Olympic bronze medallist Henri Schoeman banner the list of top contenders in the men’s division.

In the female category, Lucy Byram, touted as the next big star of the long course for Britain, will be one to keep an eye on, and Els Visser of The Netherlands, a consistent champion since 2018.

 A few familiar faces will also be joining the grueling battle consisting of a 1.9 km swim, 90km bike, and 21k run.

“I keep racing here because of the great atmosphere and vibe. Everyone is so welcoming,” said Australian Dimity Lee Duke, who has been racing in the Philippines since 2014.

Michael Tong of New Zealand has never been to the country  before but is looking forward to an epic race. “I expect it to be hot, both in speed and in weather. I have heard that the support and communities in Asian Ironman races are amazing so I look forward to getting involved with the locals.”

With competition heating up, slots for the 2024 VinFast Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupõ, New Zealand is a significant motivation for all the age-group athletes as the Lapu-Lapu race serves as a qualifying race for the December tilt.

Meanwhile, Megaworld’s First Vice President Graham M. Coates said, “Megaworld takes great pride in being a part of this extraordinary celebration of endurance, resilience, and sporting excellence.”

Since the first Ironman event in Lapu-Lapu way back in 2012 Cebu has drawn thousands of athletes and their supporters to the white sand beaches in Mactan.

With the multi-award winning international airport close to the race central, the triathlon event has always been a go-to race of athletes from near and far.

“We are excited for the 10th staging of the event here in Lapu-Lapu. After the rebranding of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines to reflect the home venue of the race and adjusting the date to coincide with the host city’s fiesta, we are looking forward to a more spectacular event,” said Princess Galura, regional director of the Ironman Group Philippines.

“The last time we had professionals racing in Cebu was 2019. This year, not only are the participants sharing the course with champions, we are also welcoming hundreds of first-time triathletes. With four Ironman-branded races in the Philippines this year, we are happy that the sport of triathlon continues to be popular among athletes worldwide, and at the same time is a great tourism opportunity to feature the beauty of our country,” Galura added. ---EBV from PR

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