Guam’s Manami Iijima and Dimity Lee Duke of Australia bring their rivalry to Davao with the former seeking to score a repeat and the latter going all out for a payback in the inaugural Penong’s 5150 Triathlon firing off on July 7 at the Waterfront Hotel.
Iijima upended Duke with a strong performance in the opening swim leg and went on to rule the Subic 5150 race last November that capped a productive season for the rising endurance racing star that saw her romp off with victories in Guam and Saipan.
Heading to Davao, however, Iijima braces for a tougher challenge with Duke raring to bounce back strong in the upcoming event organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. set over the Olympic distance of 1.5k swim-40k bike-10k run in the country’s emerging triathlon hub.
But Lisa Tyack of Australia and New Zealand’s Laura Wood are also both all-geared up, eager to spoil the projected Iijima-Duke duel and earn a crack for the top $2,000 purse in the event put up by Davao’s favorite barbecue house Penong’s Barbecue and Seafoods Grill.
Keen competition is also seen in the men’s pro category, which drew the likes of Aussies Mitch Robbins and Alex Polizzi, Czech Jakub Langhammer and Kiwi Kieran McPherson, while spicing up the event is the Sunrise Sprint, to be disputed over the 750m swim-20km bike-5km run distance.
Still, focus will be on Iijima, a former pro swimmer who won her first triathlon as an age-grouper then immediately turned pro. She was named Guam’s Athlete of the Year when she captured the IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines crown in 2017.
But Duke is all set to redeem herself with the 2017 5150 Subic champion also out to snap four runner-up finishes in her last four races, including in IRONMAN Philippines and Vietnam in 2018 and in 70.3 events in Subic and Davao early this year.
Meanwhile, SEI founder Wilfred Uytengsu said that the two short distance races are ideal for newbies to the sport as well as those who have graduated from the IronKids, the youth version of the Ironman 70.3, and who want to continue in the sport.
Backing the event, which comes on the heels of SEI successful staging of the second Alveo Ironman, also in Davao, are Lungsod ng Davao, Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao, 2GO, Nature’s Spring, David’s Salon, F2P Sportswear, Pioneer Insurance, Vitargo, Alaska, AlcoPlus, Australia Harvest, Cetaphil, Devant, Regent Foods, Sanicare, Sun Life Financial, Timex, TYK and Active with One Sports, Cignal, Manila Bulletin, Crosstrain.ph, MBody.ph, Tempo, Trilife, AsiaTri.com and Finisher Pix as media partners.