New Zealand's Stephen Sheldrake saw off a strong challenge from compatriot John Newsom to take the Hong Kong International Triathlon in glorious conditions at Plover Cove Reservoir yesterday. Sheldrake stormed into an early lead with a superb effort in the swim section of the race and held on to his margin during the bike section. Although Newsom managed to catch up with him during the run, with one kilometre left Sheldrake found an extra burst from somewhere and pulled away to finish in one hour, 57 minutes and seven seconds. Newsom finished in 1:57.26. The battle for third place was equally hard-fought, ending with Daniel Lee Chi-wo just heading off Brian Bozarth. Lee crossed the finish line in 2:01.21, leaving Bozarth trailing by 27 seconds in 2:01.48. Con O'Kelly was the next-highest Hong Kong finisher, coming home in 2:06.50 to take seventh place. In the women's open event, overseas competitors again foiled Hong Kong athletes with Japan's Kayo Wakatshi taking first place in 2:18.54. Wakatshi and Japanese teammate Miyoko Nagami had looked to be on course for a one-two finish at one stage in the race when they both led after the bike stage. But a gutsy run from Hong Kong's Nicole Budd broke up the Japanese domination, Budd overhauling Nagami with ease to finish with a time of 2:19.15. Nagami was almost three minutes back in third in 2:22.01.