by Alan Ah Mu
APIA: FRIDAY 26 JULY 2013: Triathlon has found a strong partner to help host a major competition next month.
Telephone company Bluesky has joined the sport as Naming Rights Sponsor 2013 for the inaugural Samoa Half Iron in August 10th.
Organiser Samoa International Events (SIE), in particular its director, Afoa Seti Afoa, was joyous.
“It’s like my wedding day,” said Afoa, “finding a new partner.”
“Certainly for me this is a very exciting day,” he said.
They needed a strong partner and Bluesky is it, he said.
Bluesky handed Afoa $35 000 this morning in sponsorship funds.
“We are proud to support an event that not only contributes to Samoa’s economy through tourism but also fosters the growth and development of a relatively new sport in our country,” said Bluesky Samoa’s country manager Toleafoa Douglas Creevey.
“These athletes are hardworking and not afraid to try new things – we at Bluesky really respect that,” Toleafoa said.
“We’re very excited,” he said.
Top triathletes are amongst the 20 overseas entrees from all over the world including New Zealand, Australia, USA, Japan, Scotland and Poland.
Like world champ in the half iron, Graham O’Grady, world champ in the full iron man, Cameron Brown and fourth ranked Tim Berkel; fourth ranked in women’s full iron man Gina Crawford.
The gun goes off at Apia Harbour with a 2km swim, a 90km bike race to Lotofaga and back, and then the 2km footrace.
“We will have a pop up communication station set up at the events headquarters for the day at the Samoa Cultural Village so that while the race is taking part, people from all over the globe will be able to follow the progress,” Toleafoa said.
The first to the line in the men’s wins $NZ7 000 – same with the first finisher in the women’s.
Second place getters earn themselves $NZ5 000 each.
Prize money is up for grabs all the way down to the sixth place getters.
Samoa Half Iron offers the top triathletes training for the World Champs in Kona, Hawaii on October 6th.
“That’s why they come here, to acclimatise, to train in the heat,” said Afoa.
The Half Iron Man is the culmination of other events held by SIE this year which includes the Samoa Swim Series, Pacific Open Water Challenge and the Samoa Triathlon Series.
Triathlon series champ Mark Small was joined by other top local triathletes Samasoni Nimarota and Pene Fale at the handover of the sponsorship cheque this morning.