World meet berths staked in IM Davao


A ONE-OF-A-KIND racing experience awaits the more than a thousand participants in the Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao with berths to this year’s world championship up for grabs in the premier endurance race firing off Sunday at the Azuela Cove.

On top of the 30 slots offered in various age-group categories, the blue-ribbon event is also staking 25 extra spots for women to the 2023 VinFast Ironman 70.3 World Championship on August 26 and 27 in Lahti, Finland.

That makes this weekend’s 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike and 21-km run event powered by Petron doubly exciting with the qualifiers gaining the rare chance to race under the Nordic midnight sun in Lahti, the gateway to the Finnish Lake District, less than an hour from the capital city of Helsinki.

The event, organized by The Ironman Group/Sunrise Events Inc., has already generated so much interest, this marking the return of the pros in local triathlon in general, and in Davao in particular, after it hosted the Ironman 70.3 in 2018 and 2019 which Mexico’s Mauricio Mendez and Germany’s Markus Rolli, respectively, topped.

A handful of Filipino triathletes have competed in past world championships but with 55 slots now being offered, expect a spirited chase for top honors in the event backed by event partners Alveo, Petron, Lungsod ng Dabaw, Azuela Cove, Davao Light, Lightwater, Prudential Guarantee, One Sport and Cignal.

Eighteen pros and a slew of age-group aces from 46 countries of varying styles and forms are all geared up for what looms to be a furious battle of speed, power and stamina over a challenging swim, a single loop fast flat bike and a hot, grueling run course.

Portuguese Filipe Azevedo and fellow Ironman 70.3 champion Tuan Chun Chang of Taiwan banner the men’s pro cast, both seeking to bring their winning acts to the king city of the south.

Now based in Dubai, Azevedo, 30, dominated the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Shanghai and topped his country’s Middle Distance Triathlon National Championships last year, while Chang ruled the Ironman Taitung in record fashion (3:52.48) and topped the Taipei Triathlon National Championships, both last year.

Aussie Dimity-Lee Duke, a regular local triathlon campaigner who dominated a number of 5150 races before the pandemic, heads the women’s pro cast that also features Sarah Crowley, who topped the ITU Long Distance Triathlon world tilt and finished third in the IM World Championship, both in 2017, and Lottie Lucas of United Arab Emirates.

The pros will slug it out for the top $30,000 purse in the event held to boost the city’s economy and the tourism sector.

Meanwhile, a winner-take-all cash prize of P550,000 and a perpetual trophy handcrafted by noted homegrown artist Kublai Millan also awaits the Tribu Maisugon winner. The event is held in honor of the city’s 11 tribes.

The grand prize was initially pegged at P500,000 courtesy of the city government but Davao Light Power Company, Inc. added P50,000 to the purse.

Other backers of the event are global premier partners Active, Gatorade, HOKA, ROKA and Vinfast and technical partners Athletic Brewing Co., Biostarks, Breitling, Fulgaz, Hyperice, Qatar Airways, Santini and Wahoo while Always Advancing, EKOI and Compressport are the Asia supply partners and Outside and are media partners.

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