Just when you think you're tough enough


Powerman Malaysia, the real Powerman experience – John Raadschelders, President of IPA

Every sport has its own holy grail event. In the world of duathlon, Powerman is the first and only global series, with its pinnacle event taking place every September in Zofingen, Switzerland. It is only in recent years that duathlon has gained greater recognition and debuted in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games held in Manila, Philippines.

In Malaysia, Powerman started way back in 2002 in Putrajaya, then moved to Lumut for a number of years before returning to Putrajaya again in 2012 where athletes have competed in the run-bike-run format of 10km-60km-10km or 5km-30km-5km race categories. A special category, reserved only for the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Long Distance Championships in Zofingen, is the 10km-150km-30km race category.

In this exclusive interview with John Raadschelders, ToughASIA asked the President of the International Powerman Association (IPA) for his thoughts and plans for 2020.

“For Powerman Malaysia 2020, I have high expectations of Fresh Events, who we recently appointed as event organizers. Fresh Events are well-known in the industry and amongst athletes for delivering high-quality event experiences. Having worked with Jerry Chew [Powerman Malaysia’s race director] in the past, I am confident in a record number of athletes lining up at the start line for another world-class Powerman Malaysia event in 2020.”

“As far as I’m concerned, Powerman Malaysia sets the standard to a global Powerman event. So if you want to experience a real Powerman event, you have to join Powerman Malaysia. Athletes in this event respect one another, display great sportsmanship and show tremendous pride in their achievement of completing the race. They also take pride in crossing the finish line and collecting their finisher medal, while competing to gain a new personal best or just for the experience.”

When asked about the discipline’s landscape in Southeast Asia, John notes that SEA Games medalist John Chicano and Joey De Los Reyes from The Philippines are the ones to look out for in the upcoming Powerman Malaysia race.

John added that they are excited to announce the first-ever Viborg ITU Powerman World Championships Middle Distance 10km-60km-10km that will be happening on 16 May. “Viborg is in the old city of the Kings in Denmark. This is a big step forward in our cooperation with the various national and international federations”.

“There is also an interesting work-in-progress with the shorter 5km-30km-5km category. This is a popular category in Asia where temperature and humidity are constantly at high levels. IPA is in discussion with the Asian Triathlon Confederation (ASTC) for a joint Asian Championships. It is still ‘written in the stars’ at the moment, but we are pushing to ensure it will take place in an iconic location”, added John.

The Powerman global calendar is being constantly updated. In 2020, duathletes around the world can expect around 15 Powerman events, with the aim of increasing this to 20 races in the not-too-distant future.

“There is a high demand for Powerman races, however, the challenge remains identifying and working with the right local organisers and host cities to ensure the Powerman standards for each and every event are met and the athlete experience is second-to-none. We look forward to bringing more Powerman events to new cities in Asia and around the world soon,” concluded John.

Record numbers are expected for Powerman Malaysia, with limited tickets still available. Register today at