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Last updateWed, 20 Dec 2017 12am

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    Monday, December 18, 2017-7:28:56A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Japan’s Matsumaru is back

AFTER years of absence in one of NMI’s signature events, Japan’s elite long-distance triathlete Masayuki Matsumaru is back.

Matsumaru was one of the professional triathletes who dominated Rota Blue Triathlon a few years back but has not been seen racing here in the last couple of years.

Click to enlarge
Masayuki Matsumaru
Saipan’s Heather Brook receives her awards as Marianas Visitor Authority’s Martin Duenas, left, and MVA Rota officials look on.
Saipan’s Manny Sitchon crosses the finish line during the 23rd Rota Blue Triathlon on Saturday.  Contributed photos

In the 23rd Rota Blue Triathlon on Saturday, Matsumaru proved once again he is still the man to reckon with in the long-distance race.

The 42-year-old triathlon legend swept all the races with an overall time of 3:55.17. He put up huge lead in the swim with a 7:07 and continued to lead in the bike course with a 2:15 and never looked back to dominate the B-type Olympic distance.

Next to him was 44-year-iold Hiromi Matsumaru who led the female participants with a 4:28:46.

Finishing third overall and second among male participants was Korea’s Sung Jo Yoo who clocked in at 4:54:24.

Korea’s Yeojin Yang took the second place in female division with 5:16:02 and Eunpa Kim cae third with a 5:39:43.

Katsuhiro Hara came third in the male division with a 4:57:08; Tetsunari Sakamura finished fourth with a 5:11:23 and Korea’s Changki Ahn, fifth with a 5:21:29.

Yuki Taniguchi, also of Japan led the 30-years-olds with a 5:45; Daisuke Sato, the 40-years-olds with a 5:50:14 and the 50-years-olds, Takahiro Sha with a 5:48:28.

Kazuei Murayama led the 60-years-olds with a 5:52:18 with Manny Sitchon, the only Saipan runner in the age group, coming second with a 6:06:53.

In the A-type half-marathon distance, Japan’s newcomer, 34-year-old Tsukasa Hirano beat former champion, Hideya Miyazuka.

Hirano who also came with a huge distance over all, although he had a neck-and-neck bike race with Miyazuka won the half-marathon distance title, clocking in at 1:57:38.

Miyazuka, 53, clocked in at 2:00:36 to take the second place, and Ken Takahashi came third with a 2:23:39.

Japan’s Keiko Nakakarumai led the female participants with a 2:31:23 with Ai Handa taking the second place with a 2:39:03 and Saipan’s Heather Brook won the third place with a 2:39:58.

Rota’s Malcolm Johnson led the 30-years-olds with a 2:39:53; Shigeki Shibata led the 40-years-olds with a 2:36:39; Saipan’s Paul Plunkett, the 50-years-olds with a 2:34:55; Noriya Nakakarumai, the 60-years-olds with a 2:46:33 and Korea’s Seok Min Lim, led the 70-years-olds with a 3:01:17.