THE BIGGEST names in Philippine triathlon converge this weekend in Subic Bay to vie for top honors in the tough Century Tuna 5150.
Philippine record-holder Nikko Huelgas heads the elite cast along with last edition’s Filipino topnotchers John Chicano and Monica Torres.
The grueling 1.5K swim-40K bike-10K run race—reputedly the biggest Olympic distance triathlon staged in the country—has also drawn foreign aces and celebrity triathletes like actor-sportsman Matteo Guidicelli and Sen. Pia Cayetano.
Chicano emerged as the top finisher in the Filipino Elite category and also wound up fifth overall last year, followed by runner-up and 11th overall-placer Franklin Peñalosa.
Torres, a four-time Ironman 70.3 Philippines Elite champion, topped the Filipina Elite category and remains favored to defend her crown, but veteran Kim Mangrobang hopes to put up a challenge in the women’s side.
Other local favorites include former Ironman champion August Benedicto, Southeast Asian Games bronze medalist Dhill Anderson Lee, veteran Philip Dueñas and Ford Ironman World Championships qualifier Noy Jopson.
Also vying for podium finishes are Rochelle Tan, Banjo Norte, Jenny Rose Guerrero, Kevin Lyndon Eijansantos, Norman Resurreccion and Santino del Castillo. Jasmine W. Payo