By NIMROD NL QUINONES
MANILA — Sunrise Events officially launched this year’s edition of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 set in Cebu this August 2 in a press conference held at the SM Aura Premiere in Taguig last Friday.
The official launching press conference was held as part of the Send-Off Expo held at SM Aura’s SMX Hall 2.
The event is hosted by Cebu for the fourth straight year with the start/finish line still at the posh Shangrila’s Mactan Island Resort in Lapu-Lapu City.
Present during the launch were Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, CEO of Sunrise Events Inc.; Lapu-Lapu City Mayor POaz Radaza, Cebu Provincial Administrator Mark Tolentino, Cobra’s Chay Cruel and Dan Ong, and Ramon Enerio III of the Department of Tourism.
Uytengsu recounted how triathlon has grown through the years and how many events are being held now.
He, however, noted that the Cobra Ironman 70.3 has become the crown jewel of races in the Asia-Pacific Region.
A Sinulog dance number by Lumad Basakanon opened the launching program.
A record-field of 2,584 participants are taking part in this three-discipline event (swim, bike, run) with the slots all sold out in just 40 minutes since they opened the registration last October.
The registrants come from 52 countries with 24 professionals among them, which is the deepest field of pros in a triathlon event in the Philippines. Among them are world champions Craig ‘Crowie’ Alexander and Pete ‘PJ’ Jacobs.
Also set to defend their titles are 2014 winners Brent McMahon and Caroline Steffen.
Mayor Radaza said that Lapu-Lapu City has always been pushing sports tourism and said that they are again preparing a grand welcome for the participants.
She said that 28,000 school children will again be among those that would line up the race route to cheer on the racers.
Tolentino said that the race is good for the province as it puts Cebu once again on the international sporting map.
One of the biggest concerns in last year’s race was the problem on the road conditions, which government officials are now addressing.
The threat of foul weather is also being addressed according to Uytengsu. He said that the organizers will have the safety of the racers in mind first and foremost.
The Ironman weekend will start on July 30 with several side events also scheduled.
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