|Iron man: James Cunnama from South Africa won the men's VNG Ironman 70.3 Viet Nam in Da Nang yesterday. — Photo courtesy of VNG Ironman 70.3 Viet Nam
DA NANG (VNS) — James Cunnama from South Africa and Caroline Steffen from Switzerland won the men's and women's VNG Ironman 70.3 Viet Nam in Da Nang yesterday.
James and Caroline finished after nearly eight hours race in hot weather on the beach in Da Nang.
Caroline, who was the winner of the 2010 and 2012 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship, has been given the moniker ‘Xena the Warrior Princess'.
"It's really a tough day with hot weather, but the track was so nice and management was safe," Caroline said at a press conference after the race.
"I'm very excited. I have never been to Viet Nam before, but it's an amazing race. I think the track needs more green areas to cool down the athletes," she said.
Caroline said she had a nice start in the 1.9km swim with cool weather in the early morning.
"The race was very hot today, but it's an experience for me and all the athletes. We received helpful support from the volunteers during the race," James said at the press conference.
Liz Blatchford from Australia, who finished second in the women's division, said the race was very good, but the weather was tough.
"We did not have any trouble during the race because the track was under control. However, there were different junctions on the bike and marathon track that made it difficult for traffic," Liz said.
The race was organized along My Khe Beach, and destinations, beach resorts and recreational centres on the Son Tra Peninsula.
Among the top five in the men's and women's divisions were Emi Sakai from Japan, Tim Reed from Australia and Terenzo Bozzone from New Zealand.
More than 1,000 athletes from 54 countries and territories competed on a 1.9km ocean swim, a scenic two-loop 90km bike and a 21km run along My Khe Beach.
The race offered total US$15,000 in professional prize money and served as a qualifying round for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Zell am See-Kaprun, Austria, with 25 slots up for grab.
Viet Nam is the 30th country in the world and the eighth Asia-Pacific country to host an Ironman triathlon.
The race organisers also said they would consider choosing Da Nang as the host of a full Ironman Race next time. — VNS