DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 March) – There were no lapses in security measures for the Ironman 70.3 triathlon race in Davao City on Sunday, and the death of an athlete could have been caused by circumstances beyond the control of the organizers’ security and safety cluster, an official said.
City Sports Development Division head Mikey Aportadera issued the statement in reaction to the death of Jerry Kasim, who died during the swim portion of the race.
In a press release issued by the City Information Office, Aportadera said emergency responders from the Multi-Agency Coordinating Center immediately responded to the incident and had resuscitated the athlete who later expired at the hospital.
Kasim, 49, a veteran swimming coach, reportedly died of a heart attack.
He said divers and Philippine Coast Guard personnel found Kasim and attended to him right away.
Aportadera added that although fatalities and injuries are expected in the “world of extreme sports,” the local government of Davao would nevertheless look into the tragedy, saying “the death of the veteran swimmer and athlete raises questions that must be answered.”
Meanwhile, Gerald Tayag, 18, a spectator, is in critical condition after sustaining serious injuries when a cyclist crashed into him while picking up a water bottle thrown by another participant along the national highway in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
Aportadera said the City Mayor’s Office has likewise extended assistance to Tayag and is currently monitoring his condition.
“As a city, we would not want that to happen. Nobody did. For us, we will look into the matter. We want to look at all possible angles so that at least there is clarity as to what really happened,” he said.
Major Eudisan Gultiano, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office 11, said that they have yet to get feedback from organizers on the status of Tayag.
Aportadera said the city government and race organizers extended assistance to the family of Kasim, whose burial has been scheduled on Monday according to Islamic custom.
Major Catherine dela Rey, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), said in an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio that save for these incidents, the conduct of Ironman 70.3 was generally peaceful.
He said authorities reported zero crime incidents during the race.
“We are successful in our implementation of the security measures,” she said.
She added the DCPO has not yet relaxed its strict security measures because they expect the participants to stay and visit the tourist spots in the city after the race.
Nearly 1,700 racers from 49 countries competed in the race.
Portuguese Filipe Azevedo won first place in the professional category. He was followed by Ognjen Stojanovic of Serbia and Tuan Chun Chang at second and third places, respectively. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)