2017 Xiamen Bank IRONMAN 70.3 shines
The CEO of Wanda Sports China, Yang Dongwei (first from left), awards the winners. Photo: Courtesy of 2017 Xiamen Bank IRONMAN 70.3
After hours of competition, the 2017 Xiamen Bank IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen race ended in Xiamen, Fujian Province on November 12. Sam Betten of Australia and Eimear Mullan of Ireland won their respective men's and women's professional events. Local athletes Jiang Zhihang and Miao Hao placed sixth and eighth respectively in the men's professional competition.
The route for the race was one of the 10 most popular courses among IRONMAN participants since the IRONMAN 70.3 first took place in Xiamen last year. Over 1,500 athletes from 55 countries and regions participated in the competition this year.
The 2017 Xiamen Bank IRONMAN 70.3 Xiamen organizers offered 50 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa and 30 qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
The hosts of this year's event were the Xiamen municipal government and Beijing Wanda Culture Industry Group Co., Ltd. The Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Sports and Wanda Sports China organized the event.
After crossing the finish line, Miao stayed behind to wait for his girlfriend Xing Xiaomei. As Xing crossed the finish line, Miao seized the moment to make a romantic proposal that proved to be one of the highlights of the day.
Another highlight of the competition was the participation of disabled athlete Ye Jianfan, who made his debut in an IRONMAN competition during the event, winning the applause of the crowd as he crossed the finish line.
Mullan was the first to cross the finish line in the women's race. Imogen Simmonds from Switzerland came in second and American Haley Chura, the winner of the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 in Liuzhou, came in third.
Local athletes also did well in the amateur group competition with well-known local triathlete Li Pengcheng winning the men's title.
"This result was beyond my expectations and made me reconsider what my limitations are," Li said. "I hope I can do better next year."
The event also captured attention for its high-end sponsors which included the Italian luxury car manufacturer Maserati. Talking about how Maserati identifies with the IRONMAN competition, Susie Lü, the marketing director of Maserati China, said that both sides share a similar pursuit of perfection.
"Since Maserati was founded in Italy in 1914, the centennial brand has been dedicated to offering the best driving experiences to clients, and that matches with IRONMAN's spirit, which is perseverance, passion and dream," Lü said.
Dozens of people from Maserati China also participated in the event, including the company's staff, dealers and the general manager of Maserati China Mirko Bordiga himself.
2017 Xiamen Bank IRONMAN 70.3 competitors Photo: Courtesy of 2017 Xiamen Bank IRONMAN 70.3
Event organizer Wanda Sports China also has high expectations for the future of the event. Yang Dongwei, the CEO of Wanda Sports China, said from an investor's perspective, IRONMAN has been running well and with a good financial return, thanks to the support of the local government and sponsors.
International brands like Adidas have also supported the development of the IRONMAN competition, according to Yang.
"This event not only provides an opportunity for players to get the best out of themselves but also for sponsors to showcase their quality services," Yang said.