Carrasco, triathlon delivers
AS planned, I am here in Subic for the weekend, both for business with our annual business planning and Christmas party for S1, a company I am helping manage for a couple of friends.
Of course, I am here also for the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG), at least for the 16 events scheduled here.
I cannot cover all events here but, of course, I will not miss triathlon which is the closest sport to my heart as I have worked with the group for a long time.
And boy, what a first day of coverage it was on Sunday morning as our triathletes delivered golds and silvers.
Just like Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) president Tom Carrasco, who is on target with his prediction of sweeping the golds and silvers, I too am happy after witnessing first hand the 1-2 finishes by our triathletes in both the men’s and women’s individual events, and in a very impressive manner at that, leaving their opponents in their wake.
Local boy John “Rambo” Chicano led the onslaught in the men’s side of the race that started and finished at the back of the SBMA Administration Building. He was cheered by a big crowd at the finish line area when he crossed it.
Chicano allowed second placer Kim Remolino to keep pace with him only up to the 3K mark of the final 10K run leg and steadily pulled away for a solo finish that had the crowd – and Tom – agog with joy.
His performance was highlighted by the fact that he clocked 1:53.26, faster than the target time of 1:55 and much faster than Nikko Huelgas’ winning time of 1:59.30 in the Malaysia SEAG in 2017. It was also a personal best for him.
In the distaff side where even the opponents were conceding already the gold even before the race began, the duo of Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe showed why. By the time they started the run leg from the bike, they were already ten minutes ahead of their closest rivals, but it was Mangrobang who made the first breakaway at the first run loop and was never threatened en route to a solo finish before a jubilant crowd.
Kilgroe though was already assured of the silver and so it came to pass what Tom predicted.
By the time you read this, Tom’s wards should have made him a good prophet again as he expressed confidence that Monica Torres will take the duathlon gold for sure while the probability of another 1-2 finish in the men’s side, courtesy of Jarwin Banatao and Joey de los Reyes, while the relay golds will be already a reality by the time this piece comes out.
Truth is, Tom is already looking forward to making our presence felt in the Asian level and eventually qualifying in the Olympic Games, which is Mangrobang’s dream for 2020.
Tom says we have the materials to make his dream come true.
Tom also shared his friendly competition with Bambol Tolentino of cycling as to which sport will deliver the gold first – mountain bike or triathlon.
You now know who won that friendly bet.
I will also be checking out the action in sepak takraw and beach volleyball at the Subic Gym area.
Pencak silat and table tennis will be at the Subic Convention Center where I am impressed by the media center facilities. There are a lot of laptops, big TV sets that show live action of other events, and the most important thing, food and drinks throughout the day.
I heard that the water sports like windsurfing, open water swimming, sailing and rowing, plus modern pentathlon, are at hold while waiting how the approaching storm develops.
I will be back in Manila by Tuesday night and will be doing Manila-based events including basketball and volleyball, and hopefully in Clark for softball and baseball where the Philippines is also expected to win gold medals.
I also like how local and visiting fans showed up here in Subic and cheered on the triathletes no matter from what country they came from.
I believe that with the gold medals being delivered by our triathletes, the focus of attention by the public should now be on the actual games and on our athletes and no more of these petty issues that emerged last week prior to the start of the SEAG.
Yes, there will always be problems.
I was kidding someone after we did the interview in the men’s triathlon event that the crowd control procedure at the finish line area ended up with a crowd but without the control. And I also heard from a colleague that a lot of sports photographers went back to Subic as they were not allowed to enter a competition venue because they were carrying bags which are prohibited at venues.
Now that does not make sense on a photographer’s point of view.
Now let us see how the rest of our athletes deliver but triathlon certainly has set the tone with its gold-silver-gold-silver finishes last Sunday.
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