Mauricio Mendez and Czech Radka Kahlefeldt seek no less than a pair of title repeat but expect nothing but a fierce fightback from a set of rivals out to bounce back from their previous defeat as the second Alveo IRONMAN 70.3 Davao fires off today (Sunday) at the Azuela Cove in Davao.
Mendez charged back in the closing run stage to emerge the first-ever champion of the 1.9K swim, 90K bike, 21K run event presented by Petron in Davao last year. But while the Mexican star said he’s ready and all pumped up to go for another crown, he believes the rest of the compact field are also coming into the event in top form, guaranteeing a spirited battle and explosive finish the way it was last year.
“I think everyone has a chance so I think it’s a matter getting focused and ready for race day and give everything you’ve got,” said Mendez, who clocked 3:50:32 to score a come-from-behind victory over Aussie ace Tim Reed last year.
“For every race, I just give it my best in training, focusing on what my coach asks me and just trying to stay healthy,” added the 23-year-old Mexican star.
But Reed and the rest of the pro men’s field are out to foil his repeat bid in the event serving as the first of a series of Ironman races organized and conducted by Sunrise Events, Inc.
“It’s terrific to be back here. I’ve always said that the Philippines is simply the atmosphere in racing. The support – it really inspires the passion every time I race here,” said Reed.
Others in the fold are fellow Aussies Tim Van Berkel, David Mainwaring, Matt Lewis and Fraser Walsh, Anthony Coster of France, Bahrain’s Eric Watson and Markus Rolli of Germany.
Like Mendez, Kahlefeldt braces for a tough outing despite fashioning out a wire-to-wire victory the last time out although the Czech ace is oozing with confidence heading to her title-retention drive in one of her favorite places to race.
“I love racing in the Philippines and really excited to be back here in Davao,” said Kahlefeldt, adding that the atmosphere is “just amazing.” “Everybody is ready and this is a great place to race, a great place to be.”
She looks forward to bettering her previous 4:25:38 clocking against the likes of Caroline Steffen of Switzerland and Dimity Lee Duke of Australia, both winners of other Philippine triathlons, and Guam’s Manami Iijima, who ruled the Subic 5150 late last year.
For results, visit the event’s website at www.ironman.com/davao703.
Over 2,200 entries from 38 countries are vying in the event , which features individual and relay competitions, that has also lured bidders from United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Mexico, Ukraine, India, Malaysia, Qatar, the US, Belgium, Spain, Italy, New Caledonia, Singapore, South Africa, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Great Britain, Korean, Norway, Thailand, Switzerland, Greece, Kuwait, New Zealand, Turkey, China, Guam, Mexico, Panama and Taiwan.
SEI founder Wilfred Uytengsu has guaranteed another successful staging of the event with Davao emerging as the new triathlon destination with the all-out support of the city officials.
Backers of the event are title sponsor Alveo, an AyalaLand company, presentor Petron, venue hosts Lungsod ng Dabaw, Azuela Cove and the Enderun Tent, bike course partners Davao del Norte, Panabo, Tagum and Carmen, official courier and logistics partner 2Go Express, official swim cap TYR, official energy gel GU, official nutrition Vitargo, official eyewear Rudy Project, and Aboitiz Power, Davao Light, David’s Salon, Davao Metro Shuttle, Prudential Guarantee, and media partners ONE Sports on Cignal, the Philippine Star, Trilife, AsiaTri.com and Finisher Pix.(pr)
The stage is set for the biggest triathlon event on Philippine soil as the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships presented by Ford blasts off on Aug. 7 in Cebu.