With this year’s Tagaman Triathlon moving ahead as planned, the March 21 race has drawn more than 100 participants, including off-island athletes.
As of yesterday, 107 have registered for the tournament organized by the Triathlon Association of the CNMI in coordination with the Marianas Visitors Authority. The center piece men’s pro division so far has the Philippines Fernando Jose Casares and Nikko Huelgas, Bong Jun An, Jin Gu Ha, and Jae Hyunn Kim of South Korea, and Hiroyuki Nishiuchi and returning champion Yu Shinozaki of Japan. Seventy-two other bikers have also signed up in the 11 age group divisions in the men’s event and several of them are off-island.
With the CNMI welcoming triathletes from nations with confirmed COVID-19 cases, TRAC was quick to address the health and safety concerns of the public. TRAC, in a statement, believed the Commonwealth Port Authority, MVA, and Commonwealth Health Care Center have put up or will be putting up measures to screen off-island athletes and visitors.
TRAC also said that they are anticipating some cancelation from athletes from COVID-19 affected countries. South Korea has advised its people to withhold their travel plans, while Japan—the host of the 2020 Olympics Games—has yet to issue a travel advisory, but asked its residents to avoid joining mass events.
Meanwhile, this year’s Tagaman women’s pro so far has three entries—Guam’s Manami Iijima, Japan’s Yasue Nakahara, and South Korea’s Narae Chung.
Iijima topped last year’s women’s race to complete a three-peat. She finished the 2-kilometer swim, 60K bike, and 15K run in 3:12:12 to beat fellow Guam bet Laura Nadeau (3:13:18) and the Philippines’ Maria Hodges (3:26:13).
Shinozaki ruled the men’s field after submitting 2:48:39 and prevailing over Nishiuchi (3:04:05) and Russia’s Aleksandr Dorovskikh (3:04:15).