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16 February 2009

Subic emerges as top sports venue, training hub

Due to its pristine environment and superb facilities, the Subic Bay Freeport is now emerging as a favorite venue for sports events, as well as a training center for professional athletes.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano Salonga said several international sports events are slated to be held in Subic this summer, including a bike festival in April and a triathlon event in May.

"We're getting some of the best events because athletes like to race in a healthy environment, and Subic definitely has this edge," said Salonga.

"Add to this the modern sports facilities that the SBMA has put in place, and there's no wonder why Subic is now a favorite venue both for training athletes and for staging sports events," he added.

According
to Salonga, at least two groups have opened training camps for professional athletes in Subic in the past few years.

These are Team TBB (The Bike Boutique), which trains athletes mainly for triathlon and other bike-related events, and the Philippine triathlon team, which recently put up its High Performance (HP) Training Camp.

The TBB camp recently dominated the Subic elimination round of the Milo Marathon when 14 of its foreign athletes training in Subic finished in the top 10 for both the male and female divisions.

Salonga, who flagged off the Milo marathon participants, identified the Subic-trained TBB athletes as: Bella Bayliss of Great Britain, who placed first in the ladies division of the 21-km race; Erika Csomor (Hungary), who placed 2nd; Angela Elaine Naeth (Canada), 3rd; Maki Nishiuchi (Japan), 6th; and Lucie Zelenkova (Czechoslovakia), 8th.

TBB male athletes also topped the Milo marathon leg here: James Cunnama (South Africa), 3rd in the men's division; Crifrankreadel Indapa, 4th; Stephen Bayliss (Great Britain), 7th; and Hiroyuki Nishiuchi (Japan), who finished 9th in 21-km run.

Rolen Paulino, the Milo sports director for the Subic Bay-Olongapo area, also observed that most of the winners in major races now are foreigners who have trained in Subic.

Salonga said the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) meanwhile had also reported similar success stories for athletes training in Subic.

According to TRAP president Tomas Carrasco Jr., the group's training program in Subic "has resulted in the best competitive season for our national team in a while."

Carrasco said the TRAP accomplishments in 2008 included several first places and numerous podium finishes in regional races the team competed in. These include the 1st place finish by Joash Serrano in the juniors division of the Hong Kong Triathlon and the Taipei International Triathlon; the 1st place finish by Monica Torres in the Singapore Duathlon; and the 2nd place finish by Kim Mangrobang in the juniors level of the Taipei International Triathlon.

Six other athletes who trained in Subic had placed third in other races in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.

"These successes can be attributed to a training environment conducive to achieving excellence that Subic provides," Carrasco said in a letter to SBMA.

Last year, the TRAP staged two major events here in Subic: the ITU Subic International Triathlon 2008 held in May, and the first ITU 03 Asian Long Distance Triathlon held in August.

Subic Freeport also hosted last year the President's Cup Regatta / China Sea Race, the Terry Larrazabal Bike Festival, the 3rd Philippine Olympic Festival, a beach football competition by the Beach Football Association of the Philippines, the Goodyear President's Cup, the Marlboro Road Trip, the 4th National Summer Training of the Philippine Sports Commission, the Globe Platinum Independence Day Regatta, a tournament by the Philippine Sports Fishing Club, the PNP's Subic International Marathon 2008, a jet ski competition by the Jetsports Association of the Philippines, the run leg for the White Rock Triathlon, the Amazing Race of Mazda Philippines, and the Miata and BMW Motorcycle Club's "Hill Climb Race." (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTOS:
[1] A foreign athlete completes the run leg of the last year's White Rock Marathon at the Subic Bay Freeport, which has become a favorite training ground for contenders in international races.








[2] Participants in the 2008 President's Cup Regatta maneuver their racing sailboats at Subic Bay.






[3] A bicycle race in the Subic Bay Freeport







[4] Archers compete at Subic's Remy Field during the Philippine Olympic Festival in 2008

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