The Ironman 70.3 kicked off in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on April 1. The city welcomed all 1,126 competitors worldwide to experience its historical surroundings in the beautiful city while competing in the intense event.
An Ironman 70.3, also known as a Half Ironman, is one of a series of long distance triathlon races organized by the World Triathlon Corporation. Liuzhou marks the first stop the race holds in China, followed by the city of Qujing, the Chongqing Municipality, which are new cities this year, as well as the cities Hefei and Xiamen.
Chinese amateurs performed admirably at the event, with some competitors as old as 70. In recent years, the Chinese sports industry has boomed and the whole country, no matter what age, are hoping to get involved.
“Liuzhou is such a nice place and we all finished with a good result. The people of Liuzhou keep cheering for us all the way, which give us more motivation,” China's Ironman Ba Si says. “That is the reason why we have a better performance today. Thank you so much! I hope I can come back.”
The series made its Chinese debut last year with two events in Hefei and Xiamen. The world's best triathletes will battle it out in six Chinese cities this year as the prestigious Ironman 70.3 series tries to grow in the country.
“We have already settled in at least other four more competitions in China, maybe five,” Wanda Sports CEO David Yang says. “Of course, we hope we can attract more and more excellent athletes from the entire world will participate our event.”
Tim Don, the 2006 world champion, clinched his first title in this very city and at this year's Ironman 70.3 championship, he seemed relieved as he celebrated with fans after another victory. On the women's side, Jeanni Seymour won her second title after coming out on top in Xiamen last year. She was lucky enough to meet her boyfriend, Justin Metzler, at the event, who ranked sixth in the men's division. Their relationship now revolves around the competition.
“Making the journey with Justin is an unbelievable experience. I love traveling with him, it makes my life more enjoyable,” Seynour said. “Coming across the world is hard traveling by yourself, but with my true love and passion about the sports. It is really great.”
The next stop will be the city of Qujing, in Yunnan Province which gets underway on May 28.