Organizers of Ironman 70.3 Triathlon have no issues with the water quality of Puerto Bay where the swimming leg of the international sporting event slated on November 13 will be held.
Race organizer and Sunrise Events, Inc. (SEI) general manager Princess Galura said she met with Mayor Lucilo Bayron last week to coordinate preparations for the event and to allay concerns he himself had earlier raised.
“Yung swim area natin, huwag matakot kasi ilang beses namin tinest yong tubig dyan,” Galura said in an interview over the program Turismo Dadi of the City Tourism Office (CTO).
Bayron earlier raised concerns that the 1.9-kilometer swim course might have issues with water quality due to its proximity to the pier and coastal communities.
He also urged the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO) to hold a coastal clean-up drive until the triathlon event.
“Ngayong umaga, pumunta kami sa baywalk, pumunta kami para sa bike, nag-check kami ng kalye, nag-check rin kami ng tubig, pati yong mga dadaanan sa run, tsinek namin. And gusto kong sabihin sa inyo na yong swim area natin, huwag matakot kasi ilang beses namin tinest yong tubig dyan,” Galura said.
Galura said she understands the concern raised by Bayron considering that the designated area is not even a swimming area for locals.
“Medyo naiintindihan ko na concern yon. Para sa mga taga Puerto, kasi nga hindi kayo doon naglalangoy. Pero ang kaibahan is taga rito kayo at marami kayong choices. Kami galing sa ibang lugar. Pero sinisiguro namin madami talaga kaming checklist na kailangan naming matsek bago kami bago kami pumunta sa Puerto Princesa magkarera,” she said.
In addition to water quality and fecal coliform, she said their checklist also includes the current, the tide, and the vicinity of hospitals and hotels.
Galura also urged locals to be proud of Puerto Princesa, as it will host the international triathlon, which will help generate income to the local economy.
“Kayo na mga taga Puerto Princesa, wag kayo matakot, tsinek namin ito (bay water) at itsetsek namin ulit bago tayo magkarera,” said Galura.
“Ibobongga natin ang Puerto Princesa sa Ironman community so be proud na andito ang Ironman 70.3,” she added.
At the city’s regular flag-raising ceremony Monday, Bayron confirmed that Ironman organizers informed him there is no cause for concern regarding water quality in the bay.
He said Ironman uses quality standard testing to ensure the safety of the water for the triathlon’s swim course.
“Maraming napag-usapan, in-assure tayo na wala tayong problema sa baywalk kasi alam ko concern ng mga kasama natin dito na doon magsu-swim sa baywalk, e hindi taga-rito yung magsu-swim, baka meron tayong problema,” Bayron said in his regular talk.
“Tested naman daw talaga nila at pasado naman. Lahat ng klase ng contamination ng ating baywalk ay wala daw tayong problema. International standard yung ginamit na testing parameters,” he added.
Bayron, however, ordered continuous cleanup at the baywalk and its surroundings to ensure that the water will remain clean for the Ironman challenge.
He added that the event’s organizing committees invited him to Cebu to witness how the race is conducted.
“Nag-imbita yung iba’t ibang committee chairs na kung pwede pumunta sa Cebu sa August para makita natin kung paano ino-organize itong Ironman kasi, this is our first hosting at hindi tayo dapat mag-fail, para magkaroon tayo ng second at third. At ngayon pa lang nililigawan natin na kung sa Cebu 10 years, baka naman pwedeng sa Puerto Princesa 10 years din para maganda yung ating economy at tourism,” he said.
Over 900 triathletes have already registered since March 30, with Tiers 1 and 2 for General Entry (Individual) and Tier 1 for Team Entry Fee already sold out.
In November this year, participants will begin their 1.9-kilometer swim with a single loop in the Puerto Princesa Baywalk Park. Once on their bikes, the competitors will complete the three-loop, 90-kilometer cycle course that will take them through the lush woods and picturesque views of the southern portion of Puerto Princesa to the Iwahig Bridge.
After stowing their bicycles, competitors will begin the two-loop, 21-kilometer run to the south and around the City Center. Athletes will sprint to the oval track at the Ramon V. Mitra Jr. Sports Complex for their deserved finish line, organizers said.