Asian triathlon heavyweights Japan and Hong Kong split top honors in the open elite division last Sunday with Japanese Ryosuke Maeda ruling the men’s division and HK bet Yan Yin Hilda Choi taking the women’s crown at the 24th staging of the NTT – ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon held inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Maeda, who is ranked in the top ten back home, finished the 1.5K swim – 40K bike – 10K standard distance race in a fast time of 1:53.59 even as he admitted he had a hard time coping with the heat and the warm water temperature in the water leg.
For Hong Kong’s top ranked triathlete Choi who is preparing for the Asian Triathlon Championship in Indonesia later this year, it was not the first time for her to win in Subic as she already won in here in the junior division but it was the first time for her to win at this level.
“It was a nice race, good swim and I had a good bike pack with Claire setting the pace which helped us a lot,” said Choi who clocked 2:10.02.
In the men’s side, Korean Ji Hwan Kim finished second almost a minute behind Maeda in 1:54.44 while another Japanese bet, Kotaro Watanabe took third place in 1:55.59. Rounding out the top five finishers in the men’s side were Korean Seung Hun Seo, 1:56.39, and Japanese Genta Uchida who negotiated the distance in 1:56.45.
Best placed Filipino in the race was national team member John Chicano but he failed to crack the top ten because of the strong field this year, he was followed by Mark Hosana with both coming up with improved times.
National champion Nikko Huelgas was disappointed as he finished behind his teammates Chicano and Hosana.
Chicano, Hosana, and Huelgas are all seeking slots in the SEA Games in Malaysia where Huelgas won the gold in the last edition of the triathlon event together with Claire Adorna , who in turn finished eighth overall in the women’s side.