The small fishing island of Ishigaki, Japan comes alive this weekend as it hosts the longest-running world cup and a favorite stop for many of the world’s best. Last year’s women’s race was a fierce battle between Portuguese star Vanessa Fernandes, three-time world champion Emma Snowsill and 2006 winner Debbie Tanner, three of the premiere runners in the sport. Both Snowsill and Tanner will be back to battle on the tough Ishigaki course. As expected a large Japanese team will be on the start line including the veteran Olympian Kiyomi Niwata and Juri Ide who took silver at last year’s BG Triathlon World Cup finale in Israel. A number of top Europeans will also be in Ishigaki this Sunday including German Anja Dittmer, Elizabeth May of Luxembourg, Nicola Spirig and her teammate Daniela Ryf who’s coming off a fourth place finish in New Plymouth last weekend. Last year’s junior world champion Hollie Avil of Great Britain is expected to make her elite world cup debut this weekend. Click here for full women’s start list
On the men’s side, Courtney Atkinson of Australia is sidelined with injury and won’t be around seeking a fifth victory. The Beijing bound Atkinson considers Ishigaki to be his lucky race after losing his wedding ring during the swim three years ago. But Australia is well represented with three-time world champion Peter Robertson looks to rebound from a disappointing start to 2008 with a strong showing in Ishigaki. A strong men’s field is expected to include 2006 world champion Tim Don of Great Britain, two-time European champion Frederic Belaubre of France and 2000 Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield. Also in the mix are Rasmus Henning of Denmark, Kris Gemmell, Russian Alexander Brukhankov and Sven Riederer of Switzerland. For the home team, Hirokatsu Tayama looks to duplicate his success from last year’s season finale when he became the first Japanese triathlete to ever win a world cup title. They’ll all be vying for the US$100,000 prize purse. Click here for full men’s start list
On April 1st, ten days before the Ishigaki BG Triathlon World Cup, the podium that had been used for the Osaka Track and Field World Championship last year in September was donated to Ishigaki. This commemorated the renovation of the Ishigaki City Central Sports Park and the completion of its all-weather running track. The podium arrived at Ishigaki only through the hard work of locals and all those involved and this year it makes its debut at the Ishigaki Island Triathlon.
In addition a photo exhibition entitled “Huge Passion for a Tiny Island: Reliving the Memories” has been set up in the entrance hall of Ishigaki City Hall, and all the photos and T-shirt designs up to this year are being showcased.
Log onto triathlon.org for live coverage of both men’s and women’s races. Click here for start times in your area
Want to see highlights from last year’s event? Click here the men’s and women’s Tricasts from 2007 and 2006
Related Event: 2008 Ishigaki BG Triathlon World Cup
|Results: Elite Women|
|Results: Elite Men|