This weekend, Subic Bay will welcome the Asian Championships for the first time since 2004. The coastal Philippine city is no stranger to race action, as it has often hosted Asian multisport events. The championships will be headlined by reigning champions Mariko Adachi and Yuichi Hosoda. In addition to the elite races, the Asian Championships will feature Under23, Junior and Mixed Relay races, as well as age-group and paratriathlon events from 27-29 April.
Japanese Olympian Mariko Adachi, will again wear No. 1 in the women’s race. After capping her 2012 season with a 14th-place finish at the London Olympics, Adachi recently returned to the ITU circuit this year with a seventh-place performance at the Ishigaki World Cup.
Adachi is solid on the swim and bike, but will need to look out for teammate Yuka Sato on the run if she wants a shot at repeating as the Asian Champion. Sato appears to be in strong form with a world ranking of 15th after finishing sixth in the World Triathlon Auckland and second in Ishigaki.
But Adachi and Sato will have to work together to hold off a large Chinese team made up primarily by Mengying Zhong, Yi Zhang and Lingxi Xin. Zhong is a steady force on the Asian Cup circuit, consistently finishing in the top 10. Zhang, who represented China in the Olympics, has the most experience on the Subic Bay course, having scored a top 5 finish at the Asian Cup held there last year.
Similar to the women’s race, the Japanese men present the biggest podium chances, with Olympians Yuichi Hosoda and Hirokatsu Tayama topping the start list followed by Ryosuke Yamamoto. The three men swept the podium last year in the exact order they’ll start in Subic Bay.
Hosoda is riding a hot streak heading into the championships, coming off an eighth-place finish in Auckland. Tayama has just one race under his belt this season, where a slippery course led to ninth place in Ishigaki.
London Olympian Faquan Bai (CHN) will post the biggest threat to the deep Japanese team. Bai recently collected bronze at the Chengdu ITU Triathlon Asian Cup. He will no doubt draw on his experience winning on the Subic Bay course last year to chase down the Japanese.
The elite women will take on Saturday 27 April at 8:00am local time, while the men will start at 9:30am. The paratriathlon races will be held on Monday 29 April at 6:00am.