SEA Games: Dormitorio cross country MTB bid ends in crash
LAUREL, Batangas – Leaving her bike behind, Ariana Dormitorio limped back to the Philippines’ tent in tears, knowing fully well that she let something so precious slip out of her grasp.
What was supposed to be Dormitorio’s coronation as the queen of the cross-country mountain bike ended in heartbreak last Sunday after the 22-year-old Iloilo-born rider crashed in the final lap of the 21.75-km race at Three Skulls trail here.
Dormitorio immediately offered her apologies to her countrymen, whom she felt she had disappointed following her defeat.
“I would like to apologize for not winning (the gold) for the country, but this is my first SEA Games and I promise I’ll be back stronger,” said Dormitorio, who held a 58 second lead at the start of the final lap, before her spill. “During the last part of the trail, I had a crash that caused me to be dizzy. Knowing that other competitors are just at my back, I didn’t really take time to recover. I was so eager to win.”
Notwithstanding Dormitorio’s unfortunate finish, the Philippines actually had a productive day on the trail with Niño Surban taking the silver and teammate EJ Flores claiming the bronze in the men’s cross country event.
Surban and Flores were in the lead pack with Keerati Sukprasart heading into the final lap, but the Thailand bet proved his worth with a strong climb on the back end of the trail to pull away.
“He just got the advantage in the climb,” said the Danao City-born Surban, a two-time SEA Games bronze medalist. “It was a tough race, but we enjoyed it. We would have loved to win the gold, but we were cramping in the final stretch and couldn’t really exert more effort.”
Surban’s time of one hour, 36 minutes and 23 seconds was just eight seconds behind Sukprasart’s gold medal winning clocking. Flores finished 26 seconds behind Surban for the bronze.
Iriga-born rider Avegail Romboan also picked up the bronze after checking in at 1:48:54 in the women’s race behind Vietnamese bets Thi Nhu Quynh Dinh (1:36:43) and Ca Thi Thom (1:44:19).
Dormitorio said what made her stint even more disappointing was the fact that the course was suited to her strengths. “There are a lot of climbs. That’s kind of my forte, but a crash can really make you feel dizzy especially with the weather, it’s quite hot. It really happens. But definitely, I’ll come back strong,” she added.
Two more golds are at stake here on Monday with men and women’s downhill events lined up. The country will be pinning its hopes on Eleazar Barba Jr. and John Derrick Farr in the men’s competition and Pamela Ruiz and Lea Denise Belgira in the women’s event.
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