Japan dominated the women’s race at the ITU Triathlon World Cup Ishigaki having six placers in the top ten. The gold went to the 39-year-old Japanese Kiyomi Niwata, three-time Olympian. Liz Blatchford of Great Britain took the silver while Tomoko Sakimoto of Japan got the bronze.
Leading the swim course was Chie Nakashima (JPN) but a chase group caught up with her on the first lap of the bike course. It was a compact race until Niwata, Blatchford and Sakimoto distanced themselves from the group. On the final lap of the run, Sakimoto tried to keep up with Blatchford and Niwata but couldn’t do so. Niwata and Blatchford raced nck to neck for the finish but Niwata gained momentum and pulled away from Blatchford.
Niwata stood disbelieving that she won but was ecstatic over the result. “Unbelievable! I still can’t believe it. I love Ishigaki and am happy to win here. I didn’t try to win, but just tried to enjoy the race. That was the key to bring me to the top of the podium today.”
Blatchford added how she fared during the final lap. “I was satisfied with the race. It’s always good to be on the podium. I hoped I could stay with Niwata for a sprint finish, but she was too strong on the hills. I couldn’t stay with her.”