Filipino cyclists still in search for gold

Leigh Nald Cabildo
Niño Surban grabs a silver while EJ Flores and Avegail Rombaon settle for bronze medals in the mountain bike cross-country event


IN THE RUNNING. The Philippines secure podium finishes in the mountain bike cross-country cycling. Photo by Leigh Nald Cabildo/Rappler

BATANGAS, Philippines – Filipino cyclist Niño Surban secured a silver medal in a cardiac 2019 Southeast Asian Games men’s mountain bike cross-country cycling race on Sunday, December 1 in Laurel, Batangas.

After a slow start, Surban managed to momentarily take the lead from Thailand’s Keerati Sukprasart at the start of the 3rd lap but the Thai cyclist came up strong in the end and ran past the Filipino bikers.

Yung start kasi natanggal yung pedal ko kaya naiwan ako,” Surban said. “Tapos kabisado namin yung ruta kaya nag pace lang kami kaya naabot namin yung Thailand. Kaso lang last lap, sa ahon, nakalas kami ng Thailand.”

[There was a problem in my pedal early, that’s why I got left behind. We know the route, that’s why we kept pace with Thailand. But they got us in the final lap.]

The 32-year old cyclist, who admitted he would have loved to capture the top prize, hints that this might be his last SEA Games.

Pero okay lang din na silver. Eto yung fifth na SEA Games ko at baka ito na rin yung last, so okay na yun.”

(A silver’s fine. This is my fifth SEA Games, and it might be my last one.]

Surban finished the course in 1 hour, 36 minutes and 23 seconds behind Sukprasart’s 1:36:15 clocking.

EJ Flores, another Filipino rider who also also took the lead in 4th and 5th lap, settled for the bronze medal as he finished the race with official time of 1:36:41.

In women’s cross-country, Filipina cyclist Avegail Rombaon clinched a bronze.

Rombaon, running 5th in the first 3 laps, managed to power through the 3rd spot and finished the race with a time of 1:48:54.

Napakasaya, hindi ko ineexpect,” Rombaon said. “Hindi ko po alam na running for 3rd na po ako basta pumadyak lang po ako nang pumadyak eh, so sabi kasi ni coach, hangga’t hindi pa lumalagpas ng finish line hindi pa tapos ang laban.”

(I’m very happy, I didn’t expect this. I didn’t know I was running for third and I didn’t stop. My coach told me that the fight isn’t over unless we reach the finish line.)

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s Thi Nhu Quynh Dinh took home the gold medal with a finishing time of 1:36:43 while another Vietnamese rider Thi Thom Ca nabbed the silver medal and finished the course at 1:44:19.

Unfortunately, Philippines’ Arianna Dormitorio, who had a commanding lead early in the race, got injured in the 3rd lap and did not finish the race.

Action continues on Monday, December 2 as Filipino cyclists try to capture the gold in the mountain bike-downhill category still in Laurel, Batangas.


Official time (Men’s cross-country)

Gold: THA Keerati Sukprasart (1:36:15)

Silver: PHI Nino Surban (1:36:23)

Bronze: PHI EJ Flores (1:36:41)

4th: THA Adisak Tailangkha (1:38:39)

5th: INA Zaenal Fanani (1:41:43)

6th: INA Rafika Mokhamad Farisi (1:45:25)

7th: CAM Seyha Sang (1:47:16)

8th: VIE Quoc Vu Le (1:49:45)

9th: CAM Loyraksmey Huot (1:51:49)

10th: TLS Ducatang Da Costa Dos Santos (—)

DNF: VIE Van Linh Dinh 

Official time (Women’s cross-country)

Gold: VIE Thi Nhu Quynh Dinh 1:36:43

Silver: VIE Thi Thom Ca 1:44:19

Bronze: PHI Avegail Rombaon 1:48:54

4th: THA Natalie Panyawan 1:54:07

5th: THA Warinthorn Phetpraphan 2:07:41

DNF: PHI Arianna Dormitorio

DNS: THA Tsalina Yi-Lin Phang


(DNF- Did not finish, DNS- Did not start)