CEBU, Philippines – Melissa Hasuchildt, who has racked up 47 pro triathlon wins around the world, aims for another crown on Sunday when she competes in the Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia-Pacific at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.
The Australian star's streak of victories include four tough races this year, the most recent of which was the Ironman 70.3 European Championships in Denmark last month.
Hauschildt, 35, also ruled the Port of Tauranga half Ironman in New Zealand in January, then dominated the Ironman 70.3 Texas race and the full Ironman Texas-North American Championships last April.
This makes the Adelaide native the athlete to beat in the women's pro division of the 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike, 21.2-km run event.
"Though racing for the first time in the country, Hauschildt remains the top favorite, being a three-time world champion and three-time Asia-Pacific and European titlist," said Princess Galura, general-manager of organizer Sunrise Events, Inc.
"But with the depth of the field and given the challenging course, you don't know what's going to happen," she added.
Galura noted that the likes of Czech Radka Kahlefeldt, Caroline Steffen, Dimity Lee Duke and Beth McKenzie are the top contenders to foil Hauschildt in the competition.
Kahlefeldt looms as the biggest challenger to Hauschildt, as she is coming off wins in the Ironman 70.3 Subic last year as well as the first Ironman 70.3 in Davao City last March. Steffen, for her part, is a four-time Philippine champion. Duke has also won a number of titles in the country, while McKenzie is a former Ironman Australia titlist.
In the men's division, Tim Reed is shooting for a fourth consecutive title with former three-time champion Craig Alexander looking to deny him.
A record field of 2,700 athletes from over 51 countries are expected to participate in the event. All finishers will receive podium trophies and medals, designed and hand-made by Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue.
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