22 April 2013

Olympians head elite field in Asian triathlon

MANILA, Philippines - All the three Asian men and two of the four women who saw action in the 2012 London Olympics banner the field in the 2013 K-Swiss Subic Bay Asian Triathlon Championships slated at the Subic Bay Freeport April 27.

Japanese Hirokatsu Tayama, ranked 27th in the world, looms as the top contender. Tayama finished 20th in the London Olympics and ninth in the April 14 Ishigaki ITU World Cup.

Out to crowd Tayama are his teammates. They are world’s No. 49 and 43rd in London Olympics Yuichi Hosoda, who beat Tayama by 26 seconds in the Ishigaki World Cup where he landed eighth; and Ryosuke Yamamoto (world’s No. 67th), Ishigaki ITU World Cup highest-placed Japanese at sixth.

London Olympian Chinese Faiquan Bai (world’s No.131) and his teammate Yiming Zhang may yet pose a challenge to the Japanese. Bai, the reigning Subic Bay International Triathlon champion, duplicated his bronze-medal showing in last Saturday’s Chengdu ITU Triathlon Premium with Zhang checking in sixth.

“It is our fondest hope the Olympic veterans will inspire the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) aspirants to see the YOG as a bridge to the summit of all triathlons – the competition in the Olympic Games,” said Tom Carrasco, Triathlon Association of the Philippines president and Asian Triathlon Confederation senior VP.

It’s a toss-up between the Japanese duo of London Olympics 14th placer Mariko Adachi and Yuka Sato in the distaff side of the premier continental triathlon sponsored by Standard Insurance, Century Tuna, Speedo, David’s Salon, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP), Gatorade, Fitness First, Garmin, Canon, PLDT and Philippine Sports Commission.

Adachi (world’s No. 29) is bent on exacting revenge on Sato (world’s No.33). Sato grabbed the silver medal in last Sunday’s Ishigaki World Cup as Adachi could only claim the seventh spot.

Also featured on the first of the three-day event is the penultimate leg of the country’s five-race qualifying series for the Asian Youth Games where the top finishers earn tickets to the Youth Olympic Games. Both games are slated in Nanjing, China, the former in July and the other next year.

Pacing the Filipino YOG hopefuls aged 18 and under by 2014 are Justin Chiongbian of Cebu City and Vicky Deldio of Zambales. Running second and third are Jimuel Patillan (Zambales) and Louie Lalanto (Cagayan de Oro) in the men’s division and Magali Echauz (Makati) and Kate Lagman (Cagayan de Oro) in the women’s. (Philippine Star)