Ironman China announced today that the swim portion of the event, set to take place on May 29 in Jixian, Tianjin, has been cancelled. The decision affects both the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman races, scheduled to debut in and around the Yu Bridge Reservoir. Both races will be conducted as bike-run duathlons, as would occur if the cancellation was due to weather or other natural causes.
The freshwater reservoir where the swim was scheduled to take place has been closed due to the impact of a major water works program implemented by city government. Ironman’s local operating partner, the Tianjin Sports Bureau, was only recently informed of this closure. Jixian was vetted as an Ironman venue a year ago by Ironman, the Tianjin Triathlon Association and the Tianjin Sports Bureau, and all necessary approvals were obtained at the time.
Ironman is offering a full refund of entry fees to athletes wishing to withdraw from the event. For the athletes who remain committed to race, Ironman is bulking up their chances of qualifying for the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, on Oct. 8, by adding 10 more qualifying slots to the original 50. The same amount of qualifying slots has also been added for the 2011 Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, in Sept.
“Event planning was proceeding normally until 10 days ago,” said Murphy Reinschreiber, World Triathlon Corporation’s managing director for the Asia-Pacific region. “While we did everything possible to maintain access to the reservoir and look for alternative swim venues, we ran out of options and appeals and have had to accept the city’s decision. Despite this setback, we remain committed to providing a high-quality race and travel experience.”
The races will be conducted with athletes starting time-trial style on their bikes at five second intervals. The start and transition area will be moved to a conveniently located park in Jixian. The Ironman finish line will close 14:30 after the last starter or at midnight—whichever is comes first. The Ironman70.3 finish line closure and bike cut-offs for both races will also be adjusted. Athletes will still get to experience racing in beautiful rural China. Modified maps and rules will be posted on the event website as soon as they are available.
Refunds can be obtained by writing firstname.lastname@example.org before May 20, 2011.
Ironman China now features 60 qualifying slots to the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championship, held in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i, on Saturday, Oct. 8. Thirty-five qualifying slots, instead of the original 25, are now on offer as well for the 2011 Ironman World Championship 70.3 in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, Sept. 11. The race is also a qualifier for the 2011 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, held in Laguna Phuket, Thailand, on Sunday, Dec. 4.