The Meteoric Rise of Triathlon in Asia
In Asia, a sleeping giant has awoken. A fire now burns in the belly of the triathlon community, and it was Super League that ignited it.
With BCA Super League Triathlon Bali and 2018/2019 Championship Finale in Singapore still reverberating through the endurance world, we caught up with two of the region’s biggest names. Kim Kilgroe and Jumpei Furuya competed both in Bali and Singapore and were keen to discuss the growth of the sport in Asia and what the future holds.
Hailing from the Philippines, Kim races on the national team and knows how much of an opportunity Super League represents for the popularity of the sport in Asia.
“Super League brings entertainment value; it is televised, accessible, interesting, and dynamic, but the best thing is it brings people in from outside of triathlon. Super League is getting it right.”
Japanese athlete Jumpei, who recently won the Rayong NTT ASTC Sprint Triathlon Asian Cup and 2018 Asian Games gold medalist, is convinced Super League is the future of triathlon, not only in Asia but across the globe.
At Super League events, both the crowd and the athletes are equally invested. They create a complete package while giving the athletes a tremendous amount of exposure. It will not be long before Super League is the main focus of every triathlete on the planet.”
What does Kim think is the driving force behind the growth of the sport in Asia?
“It starts with organisations like Super League because you’re the ones putting opportunities out there for the athletes. With your events providing different options and allowing people to race different styles of triathlon the sport will only grow.”
Jumpei is expecting to see an increase in audience interest at home in Japan now that doors have been opened to a more consumable triathlon product.
“Before Super League, at home in Japan, even the National Championships were not on TV. Super League is excellent for Asia as it’s increasing the amount of attention the sport gets.”
Kim was impressed with the size of the crowds and the sheer volume of people getting involved in the mass participation events, especially over the weekend in Bali.
“I was astonished by how many athletes took part, 2,500 runners and 600 in the sprint! It was unreal! It just shows you how much of a pull Super League has! While we were racing either side of the course was lined with spectators!”
So what does Kim think is the next step for triathlon in Asia?
“Events like Super League help change people’s perception of the sport. It helps them understand the value in the shorter distance and if raced well it can be just as challenging as any long course race. You don’t have to spend as much time training, you can balance your job and kids while still loving the spirit of racing.”
Super League Triathlon has started the fire, and now we plan to fan the flames as Asia wakes up to the world of multi-sport! We’ve staged two unbelievably successful events on the continent already, and we are here to stay.