By Masa Takaya on 20/03/11 at 4:16 am
The International Triathlon Union and the whole triathlon community is deeply shocked and horrified by the tragic events in Japan last week . At this time, our main concern is the safety of our friends in Japan and their well-being. We extend our deepest condolences and best wishes to all those who have been affected.
Several top ITU athletes, who have visited and raced in many several times, reacted to the disaster and here are their messages to the people across Japan.
Javier Gomez (ESP), 2010 ITU World Champion:
“I send all my support to the Japanese people. Since the earthquake, they are always in my thoughts, especially the triathletes. I hope that they and their families are all fine. I’m sure you will not give up and will be strong to overcome this big problem. I’m with you guys, all the triathletes around the world are with you… will see you soon on the races. I wish you all the best.”
Helen Jenkins (GBR):
“I am thinking of all the people in Japan and the Japanese triathletes at the sad time. Watching the news and hearing the reports of devastation is heartbreaking. The Japanese people are in my thoughts daily. I love to go to Japan and race because the people love triathlon and make the races special. Triathletes are with you!”
Joao Silva (POR):
“I just want to express my daily concern and thoughts about you guys. Courage!”
Sarah Haskins (USA):
“I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for so many people in Japan. The people of Japan are so strong and will pull through this horrible natural disaster. Triathletes around the world are praying and sending our wishes for the best recovery.”
Nicola Spirig (SUI):
“It is shocking to hear what happened in Japan! I’m training with two Japanese athletes at the moment whose families live in Fukushima. It makes you realize even more what a lot of Japanese people go through at the moment. My heart goes out to all those people in Japan going through a very hard time and my thoughts are with them.”
Triathletes in Japan are united to raise funds for the urgent relief assistance for people in the devastated areas. An online community called “Team Triathlete” on a charity platform JustGiving Japan has already raised JPY 2,892,500- (approx. $36,000 USD) as of 1 p.m. (local) March 19th.
Former ITU athlete Mike Trees, who was based in Japan while racing, also established a fund-raising platform “Tri4Japan” based in UK. Team GB stars, Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee, Tim Don and Helen Jenkins are backing the initiative.