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17 May 2009

Woo dominates Subic triathlon but local bet Catiil also shines

Hong Kong’s Daniel Lee Chi Woo won his fifth Subic Bay International Triathlon Championship title with another dominating show in the men’s elite of the 2009 edition on Sunday from Dungree Beach to Waterfront Street inside Subic Bay Freeport.

But local bet Neil Catiil also got his share of the spotlight as he gave the Philippines its first Top 5 finish in the tough competition in a long while.

The 32-year old Woo, a two-time Olympian who also won the gold at the 1st Asian Beach Games last year, leaned on strong a showing in the three disciplines to retain his crown.

Prior to these back-to-back titles, Woo emerged champion in the 2000, 2001 and 2006 editions.

“I have been racing for the past three weeks and I’m in my best shape and really expected to win," said Woo, who clocked in at one hour 58 minutes and 30 seconds in the 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run.

Woo was actually a distant second to China’s Zheng Yi Ming in the swim but gained much headway in the bike stage, joining hands with Zheng and Australian Dane Robinson to maintain their lead against the chase group.

With running as his best asset, Woo started to pull away after the first of four loops for a solo finish in the event organized by Triathlon Association of the Philippines.

Playing in his first tournament this year, China’s top triathlete Zhang took the silver medal with 1:59:55 while teammate Li Wei Sun outsprinted Robinson for the bronze medal with 2:00:26.

“It was a tough race especially in the bike where half of the course was done in hilly portion. But I worked hand in hand with Zheng and Dane to keep our lead against the chase group before I made my move in the run which is my strength," Woo said.

Robinson clocked in at 2:00.58 for fourth place, ahead of Catiil, who crossed the finish line in 2:03.57 for fifth place.

This is the first time in the past years of the Subic meet that a Filipino landed inside the top five of the men’s elite.

Catiil made heads turn with a blazing show in the bike as he emerged as the fastest among the participants with 1:04:32 time.

“Naiwan ako sa swim pero tinuhog ko sila sa bike. Kung mahaba-haba pa nga sana ang karera ay naabutan ko yung Australiyano (Robinson). Pero masaya ako dahil ito na ang best time ko sa standard distance," said the 23-year old, Cagayan de Oro native who was the champion in the Under-23 division last year.

Woo, Zhang and Li netted P30,000, P20,000 and P10,000, respectively, for topping the race.

Woo and Zhang also joined Catiil in receiving a bonus prize of $100 for submitting the best time in splits. Woo was the fastest in the run with 1:58:00 while Zhang finished ahead of everybody in the swim at 20 minutes and 38 seconds.

The other Filipino participants, George Vilog and Fil-Am Arland Macasieb, settled for 9th and 10th spot with 2:08:25 and 2:13:52, respectively.


Hong Kong’s triathletes also swept the top three places in the Under-23 with Ivan Lo Ching Hin winning the gold with 2:07:26, Jam Joe Dickson getting the silver with 2:11:46 and Ricco Chan ye Ko bagging the bronze with 2:15:46.

Rowel Odonio was the best Filipino participant in this category at fourth place with 2:17:17 before another Hong Kong entry Fun Ho Kong took fifth with 2:19:21. (c/o GMANews.TV)

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