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Internationally renowned athletes promote Idaho potatoes’ global game

Idaho potatoes will be scoring extra points with consumers around the world, thanks to a new promotional program featuring sports stars who are well known in Asia and Latin America.

Mexican racquetball champion Paola Longoria, Guatemalan endurance athlete Charlie Sarmiento and Malaysian badminton pro Tan Boon Heong will be promoting Idaho’s super spud in their social media posts through August 2021. The Idaho potato ambassadors will also be highlighted in international Idaho potato marketing materials, said Ross Johnson, international marketing director for the Idaho Potato Commission.

“These three athletes are tops in their respective sports, and each has a widespread fan base internationally,” said Johnson. “We’re excited to enlist them to tell the story of how nutritious Idaho potatoes are an important—and tasty—part of a healthy diet.”

Thirty-eight-year-old Charlie Sarmiento is a top-caliber long-distance runner who has participated in some of the most demanding ultramarathons in the world, competing in the Ultra-Trail World Tour international circuit for long distance trail running races. He is also a savvy entrepreneur who has launched sports performance and marketing businesses.

“Charlie Sarmiento will actually be doing a case study for us by using Idaho potatoes as his carbohydrate to help him fuel his training and recovery,” said Johnson. “We are looking forward to seeing the results, showing that the complex carbohydrates provided by potatoes are essential to performing at your best.”

“I am proud to be part of such an innovative project,” said Sarmiento. “I am convinced that the health effects from the highly nutritional components of the potato will significantly increase my resistance and performance naturally.

“I’m honestly excited to learn how eating potatoes will impact my training, ultramarathon races and my recovery,” he added.

Sarmiento said he first met the IPC team 14 years ago and appreciates the commission’s commitment to quality and good nutrition. At home, he likes to prepare flavorful Idaho potatoes in an air fryer for an easy, healthy dish.

“I also like Idaho potatoes because they remind me of a favorite character—Mr. Potato Head from the movie ‘Toy Story’!” he said.

“I love to work in partnership with a brand that has quality products,” said 31-year-old Paola Longoria, the most successful international racquetball player in history with 30 global titles.

Longoria was recently elected by her peers to an eight-year term on the Panam Sports Athlete Commission, whose flagship event is the Pan American Games.

The nine-time Pan American Games gold medal winner is a big fan of potatoes for their nutritional assets, which can help improve athletic performance, she said.

“I love to eat potatoes,” Longoria said. “They provide a lot of nutrients that help my body recover from an intense workout. Potatoes also provide an excellent source of iron, more than any other vegetable.”

As the former No. 1 men’s doubles badminton player in the world, Tan Boon Heong is dedicated to advancing his sport through his new badminton academy in Malaysia. He is also committed to promoting healthy nutrition through his role as a brand ambassador for Idaho potatoes.

“Potatoes are associated with health benefits because they are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants,” which are essential nutrients for both athletes and nonathletes alike, he said.

“Idaho potatoes represent one of the best potatoes cultivated in one of the best growing environments,” added Tan Boon Heong. “That’s synonymous with me as a badminton champion who trained under a very strict and controlled environment. We’re both ‘cultivated’ from a unique environment!”

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