Filipino bets dominate SEA Games triathlon
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Filipino triathletes have developed this intrinsic habit of taking away all the suspense and possible theatrics in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
For the third straight time, the PH triathlon squad once again swept the gold and silver medals offered on the podium with John Leerams Chicano and Marion Kim Mangrobang convincingly winning their races, both in runaway fashion.
The Olongapo-based Chicano collared the first gold medal of the Games in the men’s individual swim-bike-run event after setting a personal best of one hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds that augured well for the future of Philippine triathlon.
“This will bring triathlon in the Philippines to the next level,’’ said Chicano, who retained the title at home following the back-to-back victories of Nikko Huelgas in the 2015 Singapore and 2017 Kuala Lumpur sportsfest.
“I have been looking forward to this. I feel blessed to achieve such feat,’’ added the 2017 silver medalist whose pregnant wife cheered hoarse at the sidelines of the Subic Bay Boardboard.
Teenage sensation Andrew Kim Remolino checked in less than two minutes later.
The 19-year-old from Talisay, Cebu rose from the water ahead of the pack, but was outsprinted by Chicano in the second loop of the bike sequence.
“The target was to finish first and second. I really don’t mind getting the silver because he (Chicano) is my senior,’’ said Remolino, a two-time Siklab Sports Youth Awardee for triathlon for his invincible feat in the junior level.
Muhammad Ahlul Firman of Indonesia stayed within sight at the onset but failed to keep up the pace and settled for the bronze, more than two minutes off Remolino.
Less than three hours after Chicano and Remolino celebrated with the hometown crowd, it was Mangrobang’s turn to shine after her 1-2 finish with Kimberly Michelle Kilgroe in the women’s side.
Mangrobang, who spent most of her time training in Portugal under foreign coach Sergio Santos, retained the gold in two hours and two minutes while Kilgroe arrived three minutes late for the silver under the midday sun.
“Winning here is very different from my victory in KL. It makes me more nervous whenever I race in front of our countrymen,’’ said Mangrobang, whose goal is to qualify to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a big continental race in Japan coming up in May.
Nethavani Octaria of Indonesia placed third after checking in 11 minutes after Kilgroe came.
“We certainly have the advantage in Southeast Asia because we always race in the world circuit,’’ said Mangrobang, No. 104 in International Triathlon Union world rankings.
Mangrobang and Chicano aims for a second gold in the mixed team relay with 2015 women’s champion Claire Adorna, Kilgroe, Remolino and Fernando Caseres.
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