Twin stints for ‘Rambo’ Chicano, Kim Mangrobang in Hanoi SEA Games
John “Rambo’’ Chicano and Kim Mangrobang remain as the heavy favorites to keep the country’s supremacy going in the triathlon events of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games—and that’s not the only thing they might be tasked to do come May in Hanoi.
Triathlon chief Tom Carrasco confirmed that Chicano and Mangrobang could race in both triathlon, where they are the defending gold medalists, and duathlon in the coming SEA Games in Vietnam.
“Both could be our best duathletes as Monica Torres has retired and Joey delos Reyes is nursing an injury,’’ Carrasco, president of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (Trap), said on Tuesday.
Torres is the 2019 SEA Games women’s duathlon gold medalist, while Delos Reyes got the silver in the men’s event of the run-bike-run race at that time. The 31st SEA Games in Hanoi is set on May 12 to 23 next year.
Mangrobang is presently busy preparing for bigger races ahead in a training camp in Portugal. She and Chicano will be tested in the coming National Duathlon Trials (NDT) at Clark Parade Ground in Pampanga on Dec. 12.
“The NDT is part of the selection process for the Philippine team that we will send to the Vietnam SEA Games. It’s going to be the first event that we will have since the [COVID-19] pandemic began,’’ said Carrasco.
The last time the Trap hosted a race was during the Subic National Age Group Triathlon back in January 2019.
“Races held year-round were a very natural way to evaluate the performance of athletes. But in the absence of events, the NDT acquires greater significance,’’ said Carrasco, expecting around 200 duathletes in the NDT.
While Chicano and Mangrobang could aspire for a golden double in both triathlon and duathlon during the SEA Games, a host of worthy challengers could steal the spotlight in the qualifying race from them.
The challenge for Chicano could come from seasoned duathletes Doy Comendador, Efraim Iñigo, Jarwyn Banatao and SEA Games men’s triathlon silver medalist Andrew Kim Remolino.
Out to upstage Mangrobang in the women’s race are a bunch of young duathletes led by Lauren Plaza from Laguna, May Trupa and Elaine Quismundo of Tarlac, Raven Alcoseba of Cebu and the Laguna squad of national coach Ani de Leon.
According to Carrasco, Filipino-Spanish triathlete Fernando Casares and the Cebu-based Remolino can also race in the duathlon during the SEA Games if needed.
“All members of the Philippine national training pool for triathlon and duathlon are required to participate in the NDT,’’ said Carrasco.
Team Philippines swept the gold and silver medals in men’s and women’s triathlon in the past three editions of the SEA Games since 2015 Singapore.
Inquirer’s special coverage of the Hanoi SEA Games 2021.
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