World Cup slots up for grabs in Davao 70.3

DAVAO CITY—This city thaws the ice on the Alveo Ironman (IM) 70.3 on Sunday with the promise of turning in a fiercer show than it did the last time it was held three years ago.

A total of 55 slots to the World championship in Finland will be up for grabs when the Davao edition—a 1.9-kilometer (km) swim, 90-km bike and 21-kilometer run event set before a gorgeous backdrop at Azuela Cove—is flagged off as more than 1,000 athletes bid for slots to the Aug. 26-27 event in Lahti.

There will be 18 crack pros seeing action as a total of 46 countries are represented, with past winners Filipe Azevedo of Portugal and Tuan Chun Chang Taiwan, along with regular Philippine campaigner Dimity-Lee Duke of Australia—fancied in the men’s and women’s divisions where a mouthwatering prize of $30,000 (about P1.6 million) goes to the winner.

Inaugural Palawan IM 70.3 winner John Dedeus Alcala and the decorated Ines Santiago banner a crack crew of Filipino bets in the age group divisions that are also shaping up to be just as cutthroat with the weather forecast at a strength-sapping 37-degrees Celsius.

Santiago, meanwhile, is hoping to bring her act to Davao after ruling the Cebu edition and Century Tuna’s full Ironman race last year.

A fast but challenging 1.9-km swim throughout Pakiputan Strait awaits the participants. They then transition to a 90-km flat bike course that will lead to Tagum City, before climaxing to a searing 21-km run course traversing Davao City’s commercial district.

The race ends at the Azuela Cove soccer field.

The returning showcase will also feature Tribu Maisugon—a team competition—honoring Davao City’s 11 tribes. The winner bags a total of P550,000 along with a trophy crafted by Mindanao’s very own Ray Mudjahid Ponce, also known as Kublai Milan.

Spicing up the revelries are the IronGirls race on March 24 followed by IronKids the next morning.

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