In the women’s race, Ide - who won the 2011 Huatulco ITU World Cup two weeks ago - successfully used a bike breakaway to run away with gold, just beating out Ai Ueda who won silver. 2010 champion Tomoko Sakimoto came in third.
On a warm 29 degree day, it was Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Champion Yuka Sato who led the swim and climbed out of the water first. Just behind, Ide, Sakimoto and four others immediately came together on bike and the group of seven created a solid lead of 52 seconds over the chase pack that was led by Ai Ueda, the best top Japanese woman in the final 2011 Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series rankings.
But Ide, who struggled last year due to injury, sped up in the first lap of the four lap run and left the rest in her dust. Ueda attempted to catch the leader from the chase pack with the best run split of the day, 35 minutes and 42 seconds, but finished 22 seconds short.
Ide said her performance helped to overcome what had been a disappointing year.
“I enjoyed the race, feeling how happy I was while running,” Ide said. “All our team members were somewhat not able to perform well this year, but I always believed everything can go on positive side once a member finds a breakthrough.
“Today’s victory is obviously not the end,” Ide added. “My dream is to step on the top of the podium in the Olympic Games.”
In men’s showdown, Japan’s ace and 2011 Asian champion Hosoda claimed his first career national title, edging out the runner-up Ryosuke Yamamoto by 10 seconds. Kohei Shimomura clinched bronze, in a big field of 66. Hosoda was thrilled, and said he hoped that the rivalry between his teammate Yamamoto would help propel both to next year’s Olympic Games.
“Such a great feeling, I am so excited. I just focused on pushing myself as much as possible till the end,” Hosoda said. “He (Yamamoto) is a good rival but also a teammate, we competed in the world championship series together. I would like to work hard together and learn from him, and enhance our performances toward the London 2012.”
Odaiba is a renowned triathlon venue in the strong history of triathlon in Japan. With an iconic backdrop of the Rainbow Bridge, the commercial bay area attracts local visitors and tourists throughout the year. The 2000 Tokyo ITU World Cup and the 2005 Tokyo ITU Asian Cup was hosted at the same venue, and last weekend thousands of fans turned out along the course to cheer on the athletes, under a beautiful blue sky.