While focus will be on the returning foreign pros, the locals look the steal the spotlight in pursuit of top honors in various age group divisions when the Alveo IRONMAN 70.3 Davao is unwrapped Sunday (March 26) at Azuela Cove in Lanang.
For one, the men’s 25-29 category promises to be a slam-bang battle with a deep roster of talents all geared up for the 1.9 km-swim, 90km-bike and 21k-run course race tipped to be fast, challenging and searing.
Jonathan Pagaura of Filipino Homes-Go for Less, Tri SNB Barracuda teammates Satar Salem and Jailani Lamama banner the stellar cast that also features homegrown bets Jan Capon of Tri Association of Davao, Eduardo Catoc of Tri Mati and Biboy Ballenas of Tri DavSur along with the likes of Rey Estrosos of Tribo, Tri Iloilo’s Nikko Eulatic, Rey Chan of Tri Amigos Phi, and U Can Tri’s CJ Custodio.
On top of the 30 berths offered in various age-group categories, the event is also staking 25 extra slots for women to the 2023 VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship on Aug. 26-27 in Lahti, Finland, ensuring a spirited chase among the more than thousand bidders in the premier endurance race powered by Petron, the only pro-laced race this year under The IRONMAN Group/Sunrise Events, Inc. banner.
Meanwhile, 18 pros have stepped up their preparations for the grueling race with Filipe Azevedo of Portugal and fellow IRONMAN 70.3 winner Tuan Chun Chang of Taiwan raring to dispute the men’s crown and the top $30,000 purse.
Slugging it out for the women’s title in the first triathlon race in the season in Asia are veteran campaigner Dimity-Lee Duke and fellow Aussie Sarah Crowley, United Arab Emirates’ Lottie Lucas, Ai Ueda of Japan, and Americans Amy Vantassel and Lauren Brandon.
The blue-ribbon event will also unveil a 12-man team competition (Tribu Maisugon) held in honor of the 11 tribes of the host city with a winner-take-all cash prize of P550,000 at stake, including P500,000 from Davao City and P50K from Aboitiz.
For details, log on to ironman.com/im703-davao-philippines-athletes.
Elsewhere, John Alcala, also of Tri SND Barracuda, mounts his own charge in the men’s 30-34 division while multi-titled Ines Santiago seeks to nail another win in the women’s 40-44 class against the likes of Merlyn Abong, Vanessa Agdon, Roxanne Ang, Jhoan Año, Ma. Veronica Arcenas, Maryfel Aumentado, Ma. Lourdes Cabero, Jaymee Castillo and Norlyn delos Cientos.
A crack crew of foreign bets made up of Belgium’s Caroline De Cramer, Ireland’s Etta-Mai Farrell, Hong Kong’s Yui Ming Li and Poland’s Agnieszka Pierzynowska will also try to foil Santiago, who topped the women’s side of the IRONMAN 70.3 Cebu last year.
Other age-group titles to be disputed in the event, backed by event partners Alveo, Petron, Lungsod ng Dabaw, Azuela Cove, Davao Light, Lightwater, Prudential Guarantee, One Sport and Cignal, are 18-24, 30-34, 35-39, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64 and 65-69.