Long wait for triathlon breakthrough now over
SINGAPORE—For triathlon chief Tom Carrasco, the golden sweep by his athletes in the 28th Southeast Asian Games here was the culmination of a long journey.
True to their billing, Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna ruled their respective divisions at the end of the strength-sapping swim-bike-run event Sunday at East Coast Park.
“It was a long journey. When we knew that Singapore will have triathlon, we immediately mobilized everything,” said Carrasco, also chair of the Philippine Olympic Committee.
The association started its quest by tapping the current talents in the pool like Huelgas and Kim Mangrobang. Later, they added Adorna, a former champion swimmer, and Jonard Saim, the No.1-ranked triathlete the past year.
Huelgas and Mangrobang trained for three months in Desmor, Portugal, bankrolled by the Philippine Sports Commission while Adorna and Saim, with the help of a private backer, trained in Gold Coast, Australia.
Huelgas returned the investment when he won the men’s race while Adorna and Mangrobang finished 1-2 in the women’s side.
“We have a good program and we make sure to focus on the training and exposure of our triathletes,” said Carrasco, who expected the two golds after the Filipinos emerged as top Southeast Asian bets in the Asian Games last year in Incheon, South Korea.
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