The Philippines started Monday with a good haul as the national triathlon team delivered two gold and two silver medals in the 2017 Southeast Asian Games held at the Water Sports Complex in Putrajaya City, Malaysia.|
The Filipino triathletes completed a 1-2 finish in the men and women’s divisions.
Former De La Salle University tanker Nikko Huelgas defended his crown in the men’s division with an impressive one-hour, 59-minute, 30-second showing – better than his 2:04.32 record when he won the gold medal in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
Huelgas had a bad swimming leg where he was in fifth place with a time of 20.57 minutes but bounced back in the bike (one hour) and run (38.73) legs to claim the top prize.
His teammate John Chicano crossed the finish line in 2:01.27 (21:49 in swim, 1:01:23 in bike and 37:34 in run) to secure the silver medal.
Singapore’s Clement Chow placed third with 2:03.24.
Kim Mangrobang shared the spotlight by snaring the gold medal in the women’s division.
She registered 2:11.14 to earn the gold medal. She finished second in the 2015 edition.
Singapore SEA Games champion Maria Claire Adorna settled for silver this time with a time of 2:18.58 while Irene Chong of Malaysia wound up third with 2:25.44.
Mangrobang trained under Portuguese coach Sergio Santos in Rio Major, Portugal in May while Adorna had a one-month training in Phuket, Thailand before flying to Malaysia.
Huelgas and Chicano were trained by Australian mentor Brett Sutton in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the archery team added two more bronze medals in the recurve competition held at the NSC Synthetic Turf inside the Bukit Jalil Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur.
Florante Matan, Luis Gabriel Moreno and Mark Javier worked hand in hand in beating the Vietnam squad via a 6-0 decision in the men’s recurve team event bronze-medal match.
Kareel Meer Hongitan, Nicole Marie Tagle and Mary Queen Ybañez also nailed a 6-0 demolition of the Vietnam trio to win the bronze medal in the women’s recurve team category.
So far, the archery team had won one silver and four bronze medals.
Tagle won a silver in the women’s individual event on Sunday while Paul Marton Dela Cruz and men’s individual compound also earned bronzes.
The Filipino archers will shoot for a gold medal in the mixed event scheduled today.
Mary Joy Tabal delivered the country’s first gold medal on Saturday when she ruled the women’s marathon event, clocking 2:48:26, seven minutes ahead of Hoang Thi Thanh of Vietnam and just short of 10 minutes ahead of Natthaya Thanaronnawat, the 2015 gold medalist from Thailand who finished ahead of Tabal in Singapore.
The Palace lauded Team Philippines for bagging six medals on Monday.
“The week starts with a good harvest of medals for the Philippines. Our warmest congratulations to the athletes,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said.