Standing among the best of Asian champions, Olympics hopefuls and SEA Games medallists, Aimi Iwasaki was intimidated, yet inspired at the 2020 Rayong NTT ASTC Sprint Triathlon Asian Cup and Southeast Championships in Thailand recently.
Fresh from her SEA Games outing, the triathlon finalist was debuting at her first International Triathlon Union (ITU) outing, experiencing a world-standard race to improve herself. In the elimination race, the pressure was on Aimi not to get lapped during the 750m swim-20km bike-5km run distance. The course loops were very small, which made for intense competition.
Taking challenges in her stride in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rayong, the Penang-born lass of mixed Japanese and Malaysian parentage had to battle strong head winds and waves during the race. She ended up cycling solo with such gusty winds, which also made the run very challenging.
“I was most worried about getting lapped. So I shifted my mindset to challenge myself differently, and I was elated that I didn’t get eliminated. Also, I finished 3rd Southeast Asian! It was an intense race for sure,” said Aimi.
With the long term goal of improving Malaysian standards at international races, 24 year-old Aimi is enthusiastic about having the potential in a strong team with right-minded mates to improve together, backed by a new, but potentially progressive federation.
On a personal note, aiming to soar to greater heights this year, she will be focusing more on ITU and ASTC races, with her next race at Powerman Malaysia, Putrajaya in two weeks and the IRONMAN 70.3 in Desaru Coast, Johor this April.
“It might sound very simple and I know it is not going to be easy, but let me just say ‘I want to see how far I can fly!’” said Aimi aspiringly.