THE future stars of Philippine triathlon share center stage with the sport’s elite as they clash for top honors in various divisions in the Alaska IronKids Triathlon II unfolding on Saturday at Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu City.
Close to 400 youngsters aged 6-14 have signed up for the keenly awaited event divided into four divisions and held side-by-side with the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship presented by Ford on Sunday.
The Borlain kids – Sam, Tara and Francesca – who have dominated their respective age divisions in past Alaska Ironkids race series, banner the field in the event held to inspire the youth to lead active, positive and healthy lifestyles while helping them develop the values of discipline, hard work and determination.
Meanwhile, to ensure that the best of the best are in the fold, all category winners in three previous Alaska Ironkids events held in Manila and Subic were given free entry to the Cebu Ironkids this weekend with free flights and accommodation, including their parents, all courtesy of Alaska.
“Over the past years, we have seen the continuous increase in participation in the Alaska IronKids race series and we are happy and proud that Alaska Milk contributes not only to the growth of triathlon but more significantly to the development of future real-life champions,” said Alaska Milk Corp. vice president for marketing Blen Fernando.
Alaska IronKids race director Ani De Leon Brown also said “sharing the stage with the Ironman 70.3 As-Pac is a wonderful opportunity for our aspiring young athletes to showcase their talent and hard work on race day.”
Events on tap are the 6-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 categories.
“More importantly, it gives them the rare chance to meet the pro athletes they admire and look up to,” said Brown, who also cited Alaska’s contribution to the grown of triathlon in the country in the grassroots level that has continued to produce outstanding talents.
Team Ford Forza’s Paolo Guidicelli, younger brother of actor Matteo, who is also set to compete in the Ironman 70.3, is also in the Alaska IronKids fold, along with Wacky Baniqued, 13, who bagged the silver in the Super Sprint category of the recent Singapore International, Jana Macalalad, also 13 and bronze medalist in the girls’ Super Sprint section in the Singapore tilt.
Triathlon reigning champions Tim Reed and Caroline Steffen along with members of Team Alaska Tri-Aspire will be on hand to support the participants in the Alaska IronKids, including local elite triathlete August Benedicto, Tim Van Berkel, Dimity Lee Duke, Sam Betten and retired pro Belinda Granger.
Produced and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and sponsored by Alaska Milk Corp., the Alaska IronKids is the junior version of the Ironman which also features swimming, biking and running events.
“We thank all the parents of the participants for being an integral part of Alaska IronKids. Their love, care and support to our aspiring athletes provide a strong foundation for these youths and also continue to strengthen our resolve to help develop young country’s youth sports program,” said Fernando.