On Saturday 2 May a team of athletes from Sugito took part in the Sunsmart Ironman 70.3 event held in Busselton.  The athlete’s visit to Busselton and participation in the Ironman event was part of the cultural exchange program which has existed between the two Cities for nearly 20 years.

Athletes_with_exchange_students.jpgThe athletes were accompanied by Sugito Mayor Matsuo Furuya and his wife Fumiko as well as Takeshi Usami from the Sugito Town Office. The Busselton-Sugito 2014 exchange student group dressed in colourful Hapi Coats cheered the visiting athletes on and the City of Busselton Mayor Ian Stubbs also lent his support.

The Sunsmart Ironman event consists of three sporting disciplines. Koiichi Takahashi did the ocean swim; Katsumi Watanabe was team cyclist; and Tetsuya Ozawa finished the event with the run. All three athletes completed their disciplines within their anticipated times and were happy with their efforts.

Given Sugito is a land-locked area, Koichi hadn’t been able to train in the ocean so the 1.9km open water swim was particularity challenging despite the perfect conditions on the day.  Katsumi completed the 90kms bike ride smiling, having only ever ridden a maximum Sugito_Athletes.jpgof 40km prior to the race.  Tetsuya, an experienced marathon runner, finished in excellent time and crossed the line hand-in-hand with Mayor Furuya.

All athletes had an amazing event experience and thoroughly enjoyed their first visit to Busselton.  Now back in Sugito, they are keen to spread the word on this fantastic event.

Hideki Sakamoto, Head of Information and Culture, Japanese Consulate and Taku Korogi, Sport Science Department, University of WA also joined members of the Busselton Sugito Sister City Association in supporting the visiting group.  Before the event the Sugito triathletes met with the Busselton Triathlon Club who assisted with the registration process and helped the athletes familiarise themselves with the course.

While in Busselton the group visited local wineries, enjoyed a visit to the Shearing Shed, and played Golf at the Dunsborough Golf club. Takeshi even enjoyed some time surfing! Visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q94SNDzpQSs for event highlights.

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