Tom’s SEAG gold prediction
IF he was another sports official wanting to score pogi points by predicting his targeted gold medal output in the coming Southeast Asian Games, I would not give much credence to the bold prediction of winning four out of six golds, even as high as a sweep of all six gold medals at stake in his event.
But I have known Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) president Tom Carrasco for a long long time and has become a good friend of mine.
Fact is, when he requested me to be the chairman of the Philippine Paratriathlon Committee (PPTC) more than a year ago, I could not say “no”.
And last Wednesday, our group met with Tom at the PICC regarding preparations for the paratriathlon event in the January 2020 ASEAN ParaGames here in Manila and I took the opportunity to ask him his prediction for gold in the SEA games, and I got that bold reply, and he was not kidding at all.
For one, it is a fact that the Philippines is the best in the region when it comes to the sport, with a back-to-back sweep of the gold in both men’s and women’s individual events in the last two stagings of the SEAG so he has the record to back him up. With Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna at the helm of the team in 2015 and Nikko with Kim Mangrobang two years later.
The next question I threw at him was the preparation of the team in order to achieve this lofty target. And again, Tom had a good answer, the whole team, both triathletes and duathletes, will be going to Johore, Malaysia for a four-week training under international coach Sergio Santos who advised Tom to train under the same conditions as Subic instead of going to a cold climate country. This will be followed by a 10-day familiarization stay in Subic by October with the athletes peaking by November.
And this time, when the announcement for the team composition for both the triathlon and duathlon was made, questions were asked why Nikko wasn’t included in the individual event with John Chicano and young Kim Remolino as the male bets together with Kim Mangrobang, who has been based in Europe the past years, and Kim Kilgroe in the distaff side while Nikko was entered in the mixed relay with Fer Casares and Chicano.
As Tom explained, there was a series of qualifying races to make it to the SEAG team and Nikko could only finish in fifth place. Not enough to land him a slot in the two men’s individual slots and I agree with the decision, we are supposed to send the best athletes we have with the potential to win the gold as the main yardstick.
Unfortunately for Nikko, he has not been doing the right amount of training as he is also busy with being a sports ambassador, nothing wrong with that. He also got injured but from a mountain bike race supposedly and not triathlon-related.
Being a member of the national team is an earned privilege and not a right. And when an athlete makes it to the team, his responsibility is to keep his slot in the team by being on top of his game to keep his slot. An athlete who is not ready to defend his crown for me should not be sent, it is that simple, and I believe Nikko also understands the reasons behind his relegation to the relay team.
So do I believe that the Philippines will sweep the individual events? Yes I do, TRAP has prepared well its athletes and we will see the desired result afterwards at the event. In the relay event, more than an even chance of striking gold for me.
For the duathlon team, it will be bannered by Doy Comendador and Jarwyn Banatao together with Monica Torres, now based in Singapore, and Jelsie Sabado. And again, I believe we have very good chances of winning the golds in both divisions.
Now triathletes and duathletes, please do not make me a liar okay?
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