Phuket triathlon champs to defend titles in December

LAGUNA, PHUKET: Defending champions Richie Cunningham and Belinda Granger of Australia will return to Phuket in December to defend their Laguna crowns, following maiden victories in 2008.

For both Cunningham and Granger, victory last year came as a great relief. Neither had ever managed to top the Laguna podium despite competing in the ‘Race of Legends’ five and six times respectively.

This year to date, Cunningham has enjoyed an almost identical season as last year, recording victories in Germany and the US, as well as finishing second in Musoka, Canada and Rhode Island, USA.

Shortly after winning her first Laguna Triathlon, Granger’s 2009 season was dealt a blow when it was revealed she needed surgery on her Iliac artery.

Ever the fighter, just three months after surgery Granger returned to competition in style, claiming victory in the Honu Ironman 70.3 in Hawaii, pushing 2006 Ironman 70.3 World Champion Samantha McGlone into second place.

Joining Cunningham and Granger at Laguna are 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist Jan Frodeno of Germany, 2007 Laguna Phuket champion Massimo Cigana and Mirinda Carfrae, runner up to Granger in 2008.

Since its inception in 1993, the Laguna Triathlon has attracted 21 world champions, Olympic medalists and eight triathlon legends, including the UK’s Simon Lessing and Michelle Jones of Australia.

Only the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii attracts more stars, which is why the Laguna Triathlon is dubbed the ‘Race of Legends’.

The 2009 event is set to be the largest ever.

On the December 6 race day, organizers are expecting a record field of 950 individual athletes and 50 relay teams, all testing themselves over the 68.8km course (1.8km swim, 55km bike and 12km run).

Other events will include a ‘Splash ‘n’ Dash’ for kids aged between eight and 17 and a 6km Fun Run.

Places for the main event and relay have sold out, but there are still slots available in the Splash ‘n’ Dash and the Fun Run.

For more information visit lagunaphukettriathlon.com.

— Dan Ogunshakin

Phuket News
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