PH triathletes dominate SEA Games tilt in impressive showing
KUALA LUMPUR — The Philippines’ overwhelming, propulsive force toward triathlon glory came from a long, painstaking program.
Nikko Huelgas and Marion Kim Mangrobang copped the golds in Southeast Asian Games men’s and women’s event Monday while teammates John Leerams Chicano and Ma. Claire Adorna took the silver medals.
It was dominating performance by the Philippine team, surpassing its showing Singapore two years ago when Huelgas and Adorna won the gold and Mangrobang silver.
“We came here confident that we can win, because all of this is part of our long-term program that will culminate in the Tokyo 2020,” said Triathlon Association of the Philippines secretary general Tom Carrasco.
“If you look at the split times, you will see that they beat the third places by a big margin,” he added.
Huelgas, the 2015 edition champion, trailed for a few seconds Clement Cheng Ren of Singapore who was first out of water. Chicano was full minute behind them.
But by the cycling and running phase, the two Filipino male runners were all by themselves around Water Sports Center in Presint 6 in Putrajaya.
Huelgas finished in one hour, 59 minutes and two seconds, while Chicano turned in a time of 2:01:27. Ren checked in one full minute after Chicano did.
The same story in women’s when Mangrobang even overlapped the fourth placer in the running phase which went through four loops.
“I think in running I really pulled away,” said the 25-year-old Mangrobang, a former fashion design student who is now full-time triathlete.
She clocked 2:11:14, while Adorna, the 2015 champion, finished in 2:18:58. Adorna is reportedly nursing a injury but her time was enough to beat out Irene Chong of Malaysia who timed 2:25:44.