A SERIES of “unfortunate” events that included the death of a triathlete, injuries and a power failure marked the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines yesterday.
But overall, it was still a successful event, the organizers said.
A triathlete from Luzon died after suffering from cardiac arrest during the swim leg of the race held at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.
The Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation rushed him to the Mactan Doctors’ Hospital, where a doctor pronounced him dead on arrival at 8:45 a.m. Lapu-Lapu City Police Office Director Supt. Rommel Cabagnot said the victim was identified as Eric Nadal Mediavillo, 47, from Laguna.
This is the second time that a participant of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu died. The first one was in 2012 when Cebuano Ramon Igaña died during the bike portion of the race.
When asked for her assessment of the event, Princess Galura, the general manager of Sunrise Events Inc. (SEI), the company behind Ironman 70.3 Philippines, said “it wasn’t a good day, but overall the event was successful.”
A total of 2,762 triathletes from 52 countries competed.
“We've had some challenges in the beginning especially with the power failure minutes before the race so it was a series of unfortunate events. During the start, we lost power for a long time so we had to basically start the pros without power and we had to delay the start of the pros,” she said.
Galura also pointed out that there were some medical issues yesterday, with medics attending to 72 different cases.
“There are various reasons for that. Maybe because of the heat, maybe because people didn't train very well, we don’t know. It's a lot of things. But we had a lot of people who finished also,” she said.
“By the way, the spring tide (in the swim), that was another issue. Our forecast was it will not be that strong but it ended up to be stronger. We were able to make some adjustments; we maintained the integrity of the sport but we also took into consideration the spring tide,” she added.
To show sympathy to Mediavillo’s family and friends, the triathletes and organizers observed a moment of silence before the start of the awarding ceremony.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of one of our athletes following the IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines in Cebu. The athlete required medical attention during the swim portion of Sunday’s race and was properly transported to a nearby hospital where he was treated. Our condolences go out to the athlete’s family and friends, whom we will continue to support,” the official statement from the organizer read.
Sunrise Events officials did not name the triathlete since the family did not give them permission to identify him. “We're working together with the family now to make sure that we are of assistance to them as much as possible,” said Galura.
Martin Ilagan, a bike-fitter who has worked with Mediavillo to prepare for this race, confirmed that it was his client, Mediavillo, who did not make it to the bike segment of the race.
“He (Mediavillo) has been doing triathlon for a long time. He’s based in Singapore and just comes here to race. He worked for the PMMA (Philippine Merchant Marine Academy) for many years,” Ilagan of Forward Motion, a Manila-based triathlon company, told reporters.
“He’s a very nice guy and was always focused on the training. I’ve been working on his bike for this race. I did not expect that this will happen to him. I was really shocked when I saw the pictures on Facebook. I was like ‘Oh my God, he’s my client’,” said Ilagan.
The Ironman 70.3 Philippines covers a 1.9-km. swim, 90-km. bike and a 21-km. run in the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay.
The Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines first came to Cebu in 2012. This year was the sixth edition of the race.
Next year, Cebu will host the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships for the second time. At least 3,000 participants are expected to join.
“Basically we will prepare for the Oct. 1 registration opening. For sure we will have something in Cebu because it's Asia-Pacific Championships,” said Galura. (RSC)