The 32 year old Sato, came from behind to win after entering the running leg 2 mins and 33 seconds behind Namibia's Louw Abrahm, who eventually finished 2nd in a timing of 1:52:51.
Besides, the fact that this is his first trip to Singapore and the win was even sweeter because his only win came in eight years ago in Makayama, Japan.
An elated Sato said in delight, "I am really happy to win after such a long time; in fact, i was questioning myself if I could ever win again. I was actually 2nd after the cycling leg but i ran one of my best ever to win this race. This will not be possible without all the Japanese people living in Singapore that came down to support me and I will like to dedicate this win to them and all the victims in Japan's tsunami tragedy earlier this year."
"Actually, on Friday shortly after I arrived, I surveyed the course while I was doing my bike training; I came up with a race plan with my roommate, Tsubaki, and we felt that we had a very strong chance of winning, I am glad that our plan to conserve energy for the running leg worked," he shared.
Runner up, Louw Abrahm, was gracious in defeat, saying, "What can i say? Sato was amazing in the running leg. I just wished I was able to maintain my lead but he was amazing. He is a nice guy and a fierce competitor and I like to congratulate him."
In the Women's Elite Category, usual triathlon powerhouse Australia swept the podium with Lisa Marangon, Courtney Gilfillan and Chloe Turner coming in with first, second and third respectively.
Champion, Lisa Marangon, a single mum of an 11 year old boy, said, "I have been competing in triathlon events for 9 years and I finally got my first win in an official ITU event."
"I had difficulties in the swim leg and found it hard to get into the rhythm but today was a perfect day for cycling though it got a little hot in the running leg."
She adds, "I wake up at 4.30am every day to train and I hope to be a professional triathlete in future. This win is dedicated to my very supportive friends and family back home."
Winner of the Male 25-29 age group category and Singapore's fastest Ironman, Mr Willie Loo, a 28 year old business owner said, "Today's water conditions weren't very good as the water was very choppy and this posed as a difficulty to all the participants. I'm glad I managed to pull through and am very happy about coming first in my category again."
Winner of the Female 25-29 age group category, Sumiko Tan, 26 year old teacher said, "I'm satisfied with my timing and am glad that I was able to be the first out of the water. However, my cycling was weak but I managed to catch up in the run. Overall I'm very happy with my performance."
The 10th OSIM Singapore International Triathlon was attended by about 1600 participants between the ages of 18 - 76 years old took part in Sunday's Olympic Distance races, a significant increase of 20% from last year's numbers.
Triathlon President Mark Tay, who has overseen all 10 years of the event, said, "It is just amazing to oversee an event for 10 years. I've seen the sport grow from 300 plus participants in 2002 to nearly 4000 for the past few years."
"Every year, we focus to make the race safer and more enjoyable and this year, we had no serious incident at all. What's more, the weather is great and I see a lot of new faces in the kids category and the Olympic Distance. This shows that the sport of Triathlon has truly come of age."
"Lastly, I like to thank Mr Ron Sim and OSIM International for their continuous support over the past 10 years to make the event so successful," added Mr Tay.
Elite Men Winners:
1. Sato Harunobu (Japan) - 1h 51mins 59secs
2. Louw Abrahm (Namibia) - 1h 52mins 51secs
3. Bryce Mcmaster (Australia) - 1h 54mins 07secs
Elite Women Winners:
1. Lisa Marangon (Australia) - 2h 07mins 00secs
2. Courtney Gilfillan (Australia) - 2h 09mins 13secs
3. Chloe Turner (Australia) - 2h 18mins 22secs
Top Local Male
Willie Loo (Singapore) - 2h 09mins 03secs
Top Local Female
Sumiko Tan (Singapore) - 2h 44mins 29secs
Joseph Ong (Singapore) - 2h 57mins 40secs