|Kenshin Mizushima of Japan wins the IRONMAN 70.3 Phú Quốc on November 19 in Kiên Giang Province. Photos of Sunrise Vietnam|
PHÚ QUỐC — Kenshin Mizushima and Nguyễn Thị Kim Cương won the inaugural IRONMAN 70.3 Phú Quốc, on Sunday at the Pearl Island of Phú Quốc in Kiên Giang Province.
Japanese Kenshin Mizushima completed his 1.9km swimming, 90km cycling and 21km running components in a time of 4hr 22.48min.
Andy Wiboho from Indonesia came second, clocking 4:26.35, and Sang Whan Oh of South Korea was third with 4:30.52.
“Oh, man, what a day! I'm overwhelmed right now by joy, relief and gratitude for my fellow athletes," said Mizushima.
"Thank you for bringing this new IRONMAN 70.3 to Việt Nam, and for giving us a chance to experience a new destination and a new challenge in such a picturesque and welcoming setting."
Nearly 50 minutes later, Vietnamese champion Cương crossed the finish line of the women's side. She won in a time of 5:06.41.
Two runners-up were also athletes of the host. Hạnh Nguyễn (5:10.04) and Nguyễn Thị Trà My (5:21.47) were second and third, respectively.
|Nguyễn Thị Kim Cương of Việt Nam crosses the finish line of the IRONMAN 70.3 Phú Quốc on November 19 in Kiên Giang Province.|
"This is my first time at an Ironman 70.3 tournament, which I just planned to take part in for more experience," Cương told Việt Nam News.
"I met with big trouble in the cycling section as the wind was really strong. It nearly made me fall down several times. Swimming is also a tough section to me. Although I was a swimmer since my first days with sport, I had not swum for nearly 10 years before practising it again recently.
"Athletes here were really strong and experienced. Many of them won ironman races in the past. I faced heavy pressure from Hạnh Nguyễn who won the IRONMAN 70.3 Đà Nẵng in May. Hạnh ran really fast. And Trà My, she swam better and finished the swimming section ahead of me.
|Swimmer with disabilities Trịnh Thị Bích Như takes part in the IRONMAN 70.3 Phú Quốc.|
"I am really happy with the win as it was also the first time that I raced in such long distance. I can't believe that I can won this tournament," said the 31st SEA Games cyclist.
Cương said as the Ironman was one of the most prestigious triathlon competitions in the world, the Phú Quốc victory would be a strong motivation for her to take part in other events abroad to lift her profile in the world ranking.
IRONMAN 70.3 Phú Quốc, Việt Nam's second Ironman event, featured as many as 2,000 athletes including a large Vietnamese contingent and a diverse array of international competitors from 47 countries and territories. Among competitors were three athletes with disabilities.
|The first IRONMAN 70.3 Phú Quốc lured 2,000 local and international athletes competing in swimming, cycling and running.|
They were given world-class facilities amid the idyllic tropical setting of the Pearl Island, along with a presence of the six-time IRONMAN World Champion and Hall of Fame athlete Mark Allen.
The American was impressed with the facility and beauty of Phú Quốc, as well as the hospitality of the local residents.
He confirmed that with his own experience Phú Quốc could ensure the professionalism and quality of all tournaments, as well as offering a wonderful challenge for athletes.
“Wonderful Phú Quốc was my first feeling when I set foot here. The sea, mountains and forests are all stunning and impressive," he said and added that he would tell his friends about the island as an ideal tourism destination in Việt Nam. VNS