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Marten Van Riel and Ruth Astle head wildcards for PTO Tour Asian Open

The wildcards have been announced for the PTO Tour Asian Open.

Staff Reporter
Last updated -
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The PTO have announced their wildcards for the first ever PTO Asian Open in Singapore, with four men and four women added to the start list, confirming the roster for the inaugural event.

Athletes will race across the 100km distance on August 19 and August 20, with the automatic qualifiers for the race announced last week. These include PTO Tour European Open winners Max Neumann and Anne Haug.

With the wildcards announced, there is a lot to look forward to outside the clashes between the big names, with the additions to the men and women’s fields promising to provide entertainment and potentially a number of dark horses to back.

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The ‘Riel’ deal

On the men’s side, Belgian Marten van Riel secured his second wildcard spot in as many weeks, as the two-time Olympian, who is not on the start list for the Paris Olympic Test Event, gets ready to race both the PTO Tour US Open and Asian Open in August.

Great Britain’s David McNamee, currently ranked PTO World #38, will be a welcome addition to the start list in Singapore as he takes a wildcard slot. The two-time IRONMAN World Championships runner-up has been going from strength-to-strength in his return from injury.

Kiwi Mike Phillips is possibly the most exciting wildcard added to the roster, with the IRONMAN New Zealand winner given a chance to test himself on the PTO Tour for the first time ever after enjoying an unbelievably successful domestic campaign at the start of the season.

Mike Phillips IRONMAN New Zealand champion 2023 photo credit Graeme Murray
[Photo credit: Photo Graeme Murray]

Finally, German Mika Noodt, on the road back to full fitness after a big injury before the PTO Tour European Open, will look to make an impression after bursting on to the scene at the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships last year in St George.

Astle set to get back on track

On the women’s side, it will be a welcome return to racing for Ruth Astle, who has been handed a wildcard slot after struggling with a calf injury for a large chunk of the season so far. The Brit, who is a member of the PTO Athlete Board, is a three time IRONMAN winner and is yet to make her mark on the 100km distance.

Ruth Astle St George finish line 2022 photo credit Tom Pennington Getty Images for IRONMAN
[Photo credit: Tom Pennington / Getty Images for IRONMAN]

Kiwi Amelia Watkinson, who enjoyed a solid performance with 16th place at the PTO Tour European Open earlier in the year, is another wildcard and will be hoping to build on some of the form she has shown recently, such as fourth place at The Championship.

Finally, two athletes accustomed with racing in Oceania and South East Asia, Radka Kahlefeldt and Penny Slater take the remaining wildcard slots, with both looking to break through in the upper echelons of middle distance racing.

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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