Faquan, Kawashima rule Subic Int’l triathlonBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
SUBIC—China’s Bai Faquan grew stronger as everyone else wilted and ruled the men’s elite race of the K-Swiss ITU Subic Bay International Triathlon presented by Century Tuna yesterday at the Subic Bay Freeport.
Not to be outdone, Japan’s Eri Kawashima posted a wire-to-wire victory in the women’s elite race that kicked off the two-day event in the former American naval base.
Nikko Huelgas, targeting a place in the World Championship at the end of the year, also grabbed a piece of the limelight by topping the Under-23 elite race ahead of teammate John Lee Chicano and Malaysian Shimri Lim.
Despite what he felt was a struggling performance in the swim leg at the Dungaree Beach Resort, Huelgas did just enough to win the gold in two hours and 1:41 minutes of the 1.5k-swim, 40k-bike and 10k run event organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines.
“I’m not happy with my performance because I had many mistakes,” said Huelgas. “But this is a learning experience.”
Amid sweltering conditions, Faquan finished the race in 1:50:12, 24 seconds ahead of Ireland’s Benjamin Shaw.
“I was only expecting a top three finish because I’m still tired after competing last week,” said Faquan through an interpreter.
Faquan was joined in the lead group of the second transition by Shane Barrie of Australia and early favorites Mehdi Essadiq of Morocco and Christopher Felgate of Zimbabwe, who were both bidding for points to gain qualification to the London Olympics.
Kawashima was first to emerge from the water and extended her advantage to five minutes after the bike turn. She finished the race in 2:06.55, a minute and 22 seconds ahead of 19-year-old Grace Musgrove on Australia (2:08.17).
The event held in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority was also supported by Speedo, David’s Salon, Travelers Hotel, Asian Centre For Insulation, Gatorade, Standard Insurance, Harbor Point Ayala Malls, SM City Olongapo, Fitness First and the PSC.