LAPU-LAPU CITY- For the second time in three years, Cebu will be the home for the best triathletes in Asia-Pacific as it is set to host the 2018 Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, Department of Tourism (DOT) secretary Wanda Teo and Sunrise Events founder Wilfred Steven Uytengsu announced on August 4 the development.
“I think it’s fitting. Ironman recognized our quality. The athletes really enjoy coming here and I expect another sell out crowd in a very short period of time,” said Uytengsu. “For the second time for us to do this, we want to do as many big, bold things as we could in our 10-year anniversary.”
The awarding of hosting rights to Cebu for the Asia Pacific Championship continued the abundance of good news for triathlon aficionados in the country.
Earlier in the week, Sunrise Events officially announced the staging of the first full distance Ironman race in the country next June in Subic Bay.
Uytengsu can’t help but be overwhelemed overwhelmed with how the Philippines has accepted triathlon and the Ironman races since they started organized the events in Camarines Sur nine years ago.
“When we started, we had only 583 athletes. I never thought that the sport of triathlon would have grown the way it has, that Filipinos would embrace the challenge of Ironman. It’s very heartwarming to see the people accept the challenge and come up and say that their life was changed, that they’re living a healthier lifestyle, and they feel better about themselves. I think we’ve created a healthy nation and that’s amazing,” he said.
And it’s not just individual change, as Uytengsu said that the growing community of triathlon has also helped its host cities when it comes to income generation.
“We’re doing our share in sports tourism. We’re bringing people to the Philippines for the first time, who probably wouldn’t come to the Philippines if not for Ironman,” he said.
Uytensu teased that grander things are still in store for the Filipino triathlon community.
“There’s some things I can’t say right now. There’s more good things to come. It’s really exciting and I’m a very happy man right now,” he said.