KUALA LUMPUR— The Philippine triathlon team produced two golds and two silvers on Monday at the 29th Southeast Asian Games.
Nikko Bryan Huelgas defended the men’s title while Marion Kim Mangrobang ruled the women’s division in the swim-bike-run competition held at the Water Sports Centre in Putrajaya.
John Leerams Chicano and Ma. Claire Adorna placed second in their respective divisions. Huelgas won the gold with a total time of 1 hour, 59 minutes and 30 seconds. He clocked 20:57 in swimming, 1:00:00 in cycling and 37:51 in running.
“Sobrang saya,” said the 26-year-old Huelgas from Las Pinas after duplicating his title victory in Singapore two years ago.
“My goal is not just to win but to elevate the sport,” added Huelgas, also the chairman of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) Athletes Commission.
Chicano of Olongapo, a first-timer in the SEA Games, submitted the second-best time of 2:01:27 (21:49 in swimming, 1:01:23 in cycling and 37:34 in running) while Singaporean Sheng Ren Clement Chow clocked 2:03:24 (20:54 in swimming, 1:00:05 in cycling and 41:37 in running) for third place.
Mangrobang, who hails from Sta. Rosa, Laguna, finished the race after 2:11:14, clocking 21:09 in swimming, 1:06:56 in cycling and 42:20 in running.
Adorna, the 2015 gold medalist, won the silver medal after posting a total time of 2:18:58 (21:09 in swimming, 1:07:01 in cycling and 49:56 in running). Malaysian Irene See Win Chong settled for the bronze medal with a time of 2:25:44 (22:06 in swimming, 1:12:00 in cycling and 50:49 in running).
“I am proud of my athletes and I thanked the Philippine Sports Commission for its all-out support to the triathlon team,” said Tom Carrasco, former president of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines. He is currently member of the International Triathlon Union Executive Board.
Huelgas and Adorna performed well in the World Cup, Asian Championships and Subic International competitions. Mangrobang placed 19th in the Tiszaujvaros ITU (International Triathlon Union) Triathlon World Cup in Hungary last June 22. She also trained under noted Portuguese coach Sergio Santos in Rio Major, Portugal last May.
Adorna, on the other hand, has trained for one month in Phuket, Thailand together with coach Melvin Fausto in preparation for the SEA Games.
Based on data from the Philippine Secretariat in the 2017 SEA Games, the Philippines now has 3-4-2 (gold-silver-bronze) medal tally for a total of nine medals halfway through Monday’s action and with nine days left in the competition.
Other Filipino medalists are Mary Joy Tabal (gold, women’s marathon) who clocked 2:48.26; the men’s sepak takraw team (silver) composed of Alvin Pangan, Joeart Jumawan, John Carlo Lee, John Jeffrey Morcillos, John John Bobier and Rhenwill Catana; and Nicole Tagle in archery (silver, individual recurve). Bronze medalists include Paul Marton Dela Cruz and the troika of Earl Benjamin Yap, Joseph Benjamin Vicencio and Paul Marton Dela Cruz in the individual compound and men’s team compound, respectively, in archery.