SINGAPORE – Gold and silver, gold and silver.
This is the ambitious goal of the Filipino triathletes who are eyeing a 1-2 sweep of the event starting with the women’s competition in the 28th Singapore Southeast Asian Games on Saturday, June 6, at the East Coast Park here.
All 4 triathletes – Nikko Huelgas and Jonard Saim in the men’s and Claire Adorna and Kim Mangrobang in the women’s – are rated tops in the Southeast Asian region based on their respective performances in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
Saim and Huelgas placed 9th and 10th, respectively, Incheon while their female counterparts even finished higher in the event with Adorna taking seventh place and Mangrobang ninth spot.
They also come well prepared as all four triathletes are fresh from three months of intensive training separately abroad.
Huelgas and Mangrobang trained at the elite camp in Rio Maior, Portugal while Saim and Adorna had their own workout in Mooloolaba, Australia.
Women’s coach Ani de Leon Brown was confident that either of her charges could give the Philippines its first gold medal tomorrow following the event scheduled at 8 a.m. at the East Coast Park just a short drive from the Changi International Airport.
“Realistically, if we look at their (Adorna and Mangrobang’s) times, of course we also review their opponent’s times, these two kids are at a different level than their competition, more so than the men,” Brown said.
“I believe that they will dominate tomorrow,” added Brown, who finished fourth in the women’s triathlon in the Philippine SEA Games 10 years ago.
Adorna, and Mangrobang said they felt the pressure of being labelled as favorites “but we will just focus on our race and do our best.”
The 21-year-old Adorna, whose personal best is 2:09.70 set in the Incheon Asiad, bared she didn’t feel any rivalry with Mangrobang, 23, “because she trained hard and I trained hard. We consider the (foreign) competition as our rivals and just want to make our country proud.”
Brown said unless something unforeseen on Saturday happens she saw no reason why her charges would not complete emerge as the topnotchers on the podium.
“Yes, honestly at this point, I believe Adorna and Mangrobang can both win. They have worked hard that’s why I’m proud of them,” the coach said.
Men’s coach George Vilog said he also looking for Huelgas and Saim to make a similar sweep of the two top spots in the men’s race set for Sunday at the same course.