Fleet-footed Salem tops Puerto 70.3

Satar Salem (photo above) has best winning time in Puerto Princesa. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Satar Salem (photo above) has best winning time in Puerto Princesa. —CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Saving his strength for where it really mattered, Satar Salem on Sunday poured it all out in the run stage to pip China’s Junyu Cao by 48 seconds for the Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa crown to not only see all his preparations bear fruit but also be on the right side of the closest Philippine staging of the sport.

Coming out of the water in second spot and getting off the bike just behind Dutchman Eric van der Linden, Salem let loose in the 21.1-kilometer foot race before holding off the game Chinese in a wild finish to clock four hours, 22 minutes and 25 seconds.

“I’ve been eyeing [to win this event] for the past year,” Salem, who was 17th here last year, said. “I made sure I didn’t make the same mistakes that I did last year. Now, I made sure to reserve some strength to the push for the run part.”

Salem wore down the Dutchman in the early part of the run as he eventually obliterated last year’s winning time of John Alcala by close to 10 full minutes.

Leyann Ramo shared the winner’s stage with Salem with a dominant performance on the distaff side, taking command early to time 04:57:46, winning by almost 27 minutes over Grace Banzon. INQ

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