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Emerging top Asian triathletes are gearing up for the end of the 2010 triathlon season at the 16th Asian Games, set to be kicked off on Friday in Guangzhou, China.
A total of 32 athletes from 12 countries will be racing this weekend at the Higher Education Mega Centre in the heart of the southern Chinese city.
The Asian Games is the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Summer Olympics, with 9,704 athletes in 42 sports with 476 events in this edition. The sport of triathlon joined the Asiad’s programme in Doha 2006, where Chinese Hongni Wang and Kazakh Dmitriy Gaag won the first gold medals. The competition is to be held in the standard triathlon distance, 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run, just as in the Olympic Games.
Women’s Race Preview
Expected to claim the first medals for their country in Saturday’s women’s contest are Japan’s Mariko Adachi and Akane Tsuchihashi. Both women competed in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series this year and finished 9th and 30th respectively in the overall standings. Adachi moved up from a relative unknown to one of the world’s best with her consistent performances from the start of the 2010 world championship series, finishing fourth in Sydney behind reigning world champion Emma Moffatt of Australia.
Others to watch include two young Chinese Dan Fan and Ting Liu, who will have the support of the crowds on their home soil. The 19-year old Ting finished at the top of the podium in the 2010 Beijing ITU Triathlon Premium Asian Cup in July, edging out Aussie Ashleigh Gentle, who became the world junior champion in Budapest this year. Mongolian Enkhjargal Tuvshinjargal and Kazakh Karolina Solovyova are Young Olympians, who competed in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, testing how they could race against senior elite athletes.
Men’s Race Preview
Two Japanese are also considered as the favorites in the men’s field. Yuichi Hosoda finished 33rd in the world championship series overall rankings this year, which was highest among Asians. Meanwhile, Ryosuke Yamamoto ranked, 48th in the overall standings, is in good form toward the end of this season, winning his national title in Tokyo Bay just a few weeks ago.
Others to keep an eye on in Sunday’s race include Daniel Lee Chi Wo of Hong Kong, silver medallist in Doha 2006, who finished 39th in the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Grand Final Budapest in September. Also, 20-year old Korean Min Ho Heo who came in 6th in the 2010 Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup last month. Sun Liwei is also an emerging Chinese athlete, having won the 2010 Beijing ITU Triathlon Premium Asian Cup in July.
Another man looking for the podium on Sunday is defending champion Dmitriy Gaag of Kazakhstan. The 39-year old former world champion resumed his race career in June after a two-year suspension imposed by an anti-doping rule violation.
The women’s race starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, 13th November, while the men’s will be at 9 a.m. on Sunday, 14th. ITU President and IOC Member Marisol Casado will be on site, joined by ITU Secretary General Loreen Barnett.
Race preview provided by ITU.