Plunkett rules race; Antonio ranks second

Florence Antonio, left, and Paul Plunkett pose for a photo at the finish line of the 24th NTT-ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon held over the weekend at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the Philippines. (Contributed Photo)

Two triathletes from Saipan made it to the podium in the age group competitions in the 24th NTT-ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon held over the weekend at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in the Philippines.

Paul Plunkett topped the men’s 55 to 59 division, besting six other participants, while Florence Antonio joined the same age group and finished third in last Sunday’s race. Plunkett completed the 1.5K swim, 40K bike 10K run event in 3:00:19, reaching the finish line more than five minutes ahead of his closest rival.

The division champion clocked in at 31:22 in the swim leg held in the waters off ACEA Beach Resort and was the fastest in the two-lap race. In the bike leg, which took place around the freeport zone, Plunkeet submitted 1:26:43—the second best time in the age group. For the run leg that concluded at the Remy Field oval, the Saipan triathlete recorded the second best time at 1:00:34.

Plunkett’s mark in the run leg allowed him to overtake Dean Recupero, who completed the bike leg about seven minutes ahead of the former after timing in at 1:19:09 for a nearly five-minute lead against the Saipan bet, heading into the last part of the race. Recupero then slid to second place as he checked in at 1:12:54 in the run leg.

Antonio was the fastest in the run leg, as he was the lone triathlete in his age group to finish the 10K less than one hour. His 58:36 in the last phase of the race brought him to the podium. Antonio posted split times of 41:46 and 1:26:53 in the swim and bike legs for a total time of 3:07.16, or just less than two minutes behind the second-ranked Recupero, who registered 3:05:43.

Japanese Ryosuke Maeda was the overall top finisher in the Olympic distance race after clocking in at 1:53:59, while Hong Kong’s Hilda Choi ruled the women’s division after recording 2:10:02.

Meanwhile, Saipan Swim Club’s Christian Villacrusis joined the sprint race in the same competition last Saturday.

He finished fourth out of the 20 entries in the men’s 16 to 19 age group after completing the 1K swim race, 20K bike, and 5K run in 1:20:30. Villacrusis’ split times were unavailable at the tournament’s website.

The weekend competition in Subic was sanctioned by the International Triathlon Union and the Asian Triathlon Confederation and organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. Triathlon Association of the CNMI helped Villacrusis, Plunkett, and Antonio join the annual tournament that drew nearly 300 participants across Asia.

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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