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Visiting triathletes vow to save Tagaman

THE visiting triathletes yesterday expressed their desire to keep in the islands’ annual calendar of events, the NMI’s unique triathlon—Tagaman.

The lower number of participation this year did not escape the attention of Korea’s Kaon Cho who has been racing on island since 2008. He recalled that back then Tagaman drew more than 200 people.

He learned during yesterday’s press conference that only a little over 100 are participating in the redesigned 2017 Tagaman 5150 Triathlon that will kickoff at Kanoa Resort beach on Saturday.

According to the race director, Ricky Castro, 103 have registered to race in the event—60 from here and 43 from off-island including 20 from Korea and 11, from Hong Kong and four from Japan.

Cho asked why.

The organizers explained that due to more international sports events that were added to islands’ annual calendar, one was the recent inaugural Ironman, it was thought that skipping Tagaman this year, perhaps for good, could be inevitable.

The organizers and visiting participants of the 2017 Tagaman 5150 Triathlon pose during yesterday’s press conference at the Kanoa Resort and Spa. Photo by Emmanuel T. Erediano

But many local triathletes who share the pride of having Tagaman as the islands’ own, are willing to do all they can to keep it in the annual calendar. That was also why the usually unique stretch of the triathlon was reduced to Olympic distance. Before, Tagman consisted of 1.9-kilometer swim, 60-kilometer bike and 15-kilometer run. On Saturday, participants will race 1.5-kilometer swim; 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run. This reduction was all the fighters can agree to, in able to save the Tagaman.

Cho expressed hope that Tagaman will continue. He also vowed to help in any way he can to keep the event in the annual calendar. He also looks forward to bring it back to the original and unique distance.

Cho said that since joined the Tagaman 10 years ago, he always enjoyed the race.

Russia’s Aleksandr Dorovskikh who has also been participating not only in Tagaman but other international sports events here like Hell of the Marianas and Saipan Xterra, said he likes Saipan a lot.

It was always a very unique and wonderful experience racing on this beautiful island, he said.

Philippines Joseph Miller who was so excited to be back on island also expressed strong support for Tagaman. He said he wants to help promote sports tourism on the island.

He is also excited to try the new course on Saturday. Racing past some historical landmarks like the submerged World War 2 tanks in the lagoon would further make Tagaman a very unique experience for visiting and local triathletes, Miller said.

Ian Solana, also of the Philippines said he sees a great potential of Saipan as world class race destination. It was his first time to race in Tagman but from his experience in the Hell of Marianas in December, he found Saipan a very beautiful island with hospitable people.

Hong Kong’s Lawrence Wang said it will be his first time to race in Tagaman and he feels good about island. He felt so excited about the event specially the swim course in the ocean.

Maria Hodges of U.S. sad she felt so excited about the race. Everything looks organized as she thanked the members of the islands’ community for the warm welcome and support.

Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/sports/96288-visiting-triathletes-vow-to-save-tagaman

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