Familiar rivals in Tagaman Triathlon


Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Nick Nishikawa, second left, poses for a photo with other Hyatt staff and officials during a meeting with Triathlon Association in the CNMI, which is organizing this year’s 30th Tagaman Triathlon. (Contributed Photo)

Guam’s Manami Iijima and the Philippines Maria Hodges will meet again as they lead the women’s pro field in the 30th Tagaman Triathlon.

Hodges and Iijima are the latest triathletes to sign up for the March 30 event, joining early birds Laura Nedeau of Guam and Hong Kong’s Chau Yu Ng. Also on the list as of yesterday is the returning Maki Nishiuchi.

Iijima will be gunning for a 3-peat when she races in next month’s Tagaman and eyeing a repeat over Hodges. The swimmer turned pro triathlete from Guam topped the 2017 edition of Tagaman after clocking in at 2:12:52 in the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. Iijima completed the race more than eight minutes ahead of Hodges (2:21:04), who made stops in Ironman World Championships in Hawaii and other triathlon events across the United States and Asia before returning for Tagaman this year.

Last year, Iijima made it two in a row when she finished the longer race (2K swim, 90K bike, and 21K run) in 4:34:30 and prevailed against Korea’s Dan Bi Hong (4:51:10), A Reum Jo (4:53:39), Jijho Hwang (5:12:20), Chung Narae (5:21:40), and Jin Hyung Kim (5:22:50), and Nishiuchi (4:55:48).

This year, Tagaman’s course features a 2K swim, 60K bike, and 15K run with the start/finish line at Minatchom Atdao pavilion in Susupe. In the swim leg, participants will go through the two-loop course in the waters off Kilili Beach, while for the bike part, triathletes will head south first up to the Airport Road (near the old Japanese bunker) before going north all the way to the Banzai Cliff and back to Minatchom Atdao. For the run leg, participants will run along Beach Road all the way down to the Gov. Eloy S. Inos Peace Park and back to the start/finish line.

Meanwhile, in the men’s pro division, Japan’s Yu Shinozaki will be back, as he aims to finish the race this time.

The Japanese pro collided with a car during the bike portion of the event last year, forcing him to quit the race won by Hong Kong’s Yim Leong Law. The 2018 champion timed in at (4:23:20) to stun 2017 winner and favorite Alexandr Dorovskikh (4:31:30) of Russia.

Others entered in the men’s pro field (online registration) are Hiroki Nishiuchi, Fernando Jose Casares, Vasco Van De Flier, Soo Hwan Chun, and Jin Gu Ha.

As of yesterday, 111 individuals have signed up online for the 30th edition of the longest-running triathlon event in the Western Pacific, while the relay division has already drawn seven teams.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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