Experience triumphed over youth earlier this month, as Kiyomi Niwata (JPN) dominated the women’s field, winning both events at the ITU Triathlon Premium Asian Cup and the ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Series Event in Weihai, China, on June 10-11.
A 40-year old veteran, Niwata on Sunday, June 11, completed the 3k swim, 80k bike and 20k run in 4 hours, 59 minutes and 42 seconds, almost 20 minutes ahead of runner-up Kristin Lie of Norway.
In the men’s field, Dmitry Rostyagaev (RUS) came from behind in the run to win the event in 4:16:48.
Niwata’s victory came on the heels of her win in a standard 51.5k distance race at the 2011 Weihai ITU Triathlon Premium Asian Cup, Saturday, June 10.
“I had no idea I could ride because this was the first time I’ve tried the long-distance event,” said Niwata in an interview with China Daily. “I didn’t take enough food on the bike so I felt hungry along the way.”
“I am happy with my win. I took a big lead from the start, but lost a little speed and duration today,” added Niwata.
A group of five men, including Rostyagaev (RUS), Kieran Doe (NZL), Aaron Farlow (AUS), Tom Room (GBR) and Daniel Lee Chi Wo (HKG) broke away from defending champion Jimmy Johnsen of Denmark, who struggled in the water.
While it marked the Russian’s first time competing in a long-distance event, he was strong enough to edge the other contenders in a relatively high temperature at 28 degrees Celsius. Rostyagaev finished first with Doe trailing him by 50 seconds. Farlow came in third in 4:17:54.
“This is a first for me. I’m only 23,” Rostyagaev said. “I’m glad; it’s a tough race.”
“I am satisfied with my race, for a return to the circuit,” Doe said. “I could not ask for more.” Doe admitted he was not very strong in the early portion of the run. However, he felt stronger in the final lap.
Weihai, a major seaport city in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong, is building a reputation as an iconic ground for long distance triathlon in China with the success of the long distance event. Along with some of the world’s best athletes, age-groupers from 21 countries took part in the races, launched last year as a part of a long-term initiative to root Long Distance Triathlon in the region.
ITU Honorary President Les McDonald (CAN) attended the event and the medal ceremony.