Back on top, Banjo Norte puts bitter past behind
LAPU-LAPU CITY — Banjo Norte’s triumph in the 2017 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines erases every bitterness he felt in the past three Cebu tilts.
“When I crossed the finish line, every bit of those are gone,” Norte said in Filipino, looking back at the tribulations he faced in the previous editions.
After winning in 2013, the Cagayan de Oro-born triathlete has yet to replicate his success and reach the peak for Filipino elite participants in the Cebu staging until now.
Norte could not defend his title in 2014 as he failed to take the four-minute penalty after organizers ruled him committing illegal drafting in the race.
Luck wasn’t on his side again in 2015, losing much headway in the bike course as two other competitors zoomed past him to settle for a third place finish.
Norte admitted he only had himself to blame for his finishing fourth last year, citing lack of training for the Asia Pacific Championships.
But past is past and the 24-year-old is just elated to finally return to the podium and once again rule the Asian elite category.
“I was able to make up for those. I really prepared hard for this and even trained for three weeks in Phuket,” he said.
“Next year, I’ll prepare harder so we can defend the throne for our team,” he said.