28 June 2012

Subic Bay gaining ground in sports tourism

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Roberto V. Garcia expressed optimism for the future of sports tourism in this free port, after it successfully hosted another international triathlon on Sunday.

Garcia said the first Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon, which drew more than 600 foreign and Filipino triathletes, will carry the torch for Subic in the international sporting circuit for the next three years.

“We are surely gaining ground as far as sports tourism is concerned,” Garcia said in after the inaugural run. “We’re very proud to have hosted this event, and we have a lot of foreign and local athletes, all of whom were very happy about the unique and challenging course,” he said.

The Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon was the first 5i50 distance event sanctioned by the World Triathlon Corp. or WTC in Southeast Asia. It was composed of a 1.5-kilometer swim, a 40-kilometer bike, and a 10-kilometer run that took participants along the most scenic routes in this free port.

Garcia said the SBMA has signed a contract with Sunrise Events, Inc. for the staging of the event until 2014.

“So we look forward to a bigger field next year, and as far as our sports tourism program is concerned, we will continue to promote triathlons, marathons, biking events and all other sports events which have chosen Subic Bay as their venue,” he added.

In last Sunday’s races, Australian triathlon veteran David Dellow emerged as the first 5i50 Subic Bay champion after finishing with a time of 2 hours, 3 minutes and 02 seconds. Dellow was also the champion in Ironman Cairns 2012 held on June 3, and was 5th placer at the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship 2012 in Melbourne last March 24.

Following close behind Dellow was three-time Olympic Triathlon qualifier Csaba Kuttor of Hungary, with total time of 2:03:27. Kuttor finished eighth place in the 2012 5i50 in Klagenfurt, Austria.

In third place was Australian Xterra elite Ben Allen with 2:04:43, while Canadian Mathieu O’Halloran finished fourth with 2:05:23. Allen won first place in the 2012 Xterra Asian Triple Crown and first place at the 2012 Xterra Philippines, while O’Halloran finished first place in the Pico De Loro Triathlon 2012, first place in the Zambales Beach Games Triathlon in 2011, and first place at the Bantayan Beach Games Triathlon.

Another Australian, Belinda Granger, ruled the women’s category, clocking 2:22:35 overall.

Meanwhile, the relay category was led by the Wetshop Tri Team, which recorded an aggregate time of 02:16:27. Team Wetshop Para-Tri clocked 02:31:30 for a second finish, while Meralco Lightspeed Team 1 finished third with 02:32:35.

A total of 619 participants, including 45 relay teams of three members each, joined the race which totalled 51.50-kilometer triathlon distance.

The Subic Bay sports event also drew international professional triathletes like Canadian Ali Fitch, British Jacki Slack, and Justin Granger, as well as Filipino celebrities like Senator Pia Cayetano, TV hosts Kim Atienza and Drew Arellano, actor Matteo Guidicelli, and news anchor Raffy Tima.

Organizer Alaska Milk Corp. president and CEO Fred Uytengsu said the Olympic-distance triathlon race will be held here annually until 2014 and will be organized by Sunrise Events, Inc., the company behind Ironman 70.3 Philippines. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia raises the hand of Australian Belinda Granger, winner in women’s division of the First Century Tuna 5159 Triathlon held at the Subic Bay Freeport last Sunday.