Triathletes excited to return to PH

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Amelia Watkinson
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Foreign competitors in the recently-concluded Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 said they look forward to return to the Philippines not only to conquer the ultimate challenge of next year’s triathlon but also to enjoy again the unique Filipino hospitality.

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Over 2,700 triathletes from 52 countries participated in the 10th anniversary of the sporting event organized by Sunrise Events Inc. in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Tourism Secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo welcomed the competitors and invited them to return for the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship next year.

“We are very happy and elated to have the biggest competitors in triathlon sports. You and your families are always welcome here and have fun in one of the best islands in the world,” Teo said.

“Nine years ago, we didn’t even imagine having Ironman 70.3 here in the Philippines, and here we are holding our 10th year anniversary in Cebu, in partnership with the DOT,” said Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Sunrise Events founder and chief executive.

Ironman 70.3 officials said the triathlon sport has enjoyed a world-class venue in the Queen City of the South, which earned raves for hosting last year’s Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.

Australian Tim Reed, who posted his best time (3 hours, 15 minutes and 7 seconds) in third straight victory said, “I’ll definitely be back next year as Cebu is a special place for me.”

Female champion Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand said she was excited to come back not only to compete in Ironman 70.3 but to meet the local people.

Watkinson, who triumphed in last year’s 5150 triathlon at Subic, Zambales, said, “I find people in Cebu very supportive and exciting with crowd on the side of the streets smiling, waving little colourful banners, marching bands playing, cheering for us, go-go-go.”

Runner-up and the fan favorite Mauricio Mendez of Mexico said he is amazed with the beautiful sunrise of Mactan. “It is so beautifully spectacular amid one of the tightest races I’ve ever run. I like how the race was professionally put together. I’m happy here in Cebu and will be back.”

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