ASIAN GAMES: Pinoy mountain bike best finish sixth in downhill event
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 20, 2018 06:40 PM
The Philippines’ mountain bike bets Leah Belgira (left) for downhill and Ariana Thea Patrice Dormitorio for cross country strike a pose.
SUBANG, Indonesia — The Philippines' John Derrick Farr and Leah Belgira settled for identical sixth-place finishes in mountain bike cycling’s downhill event, where host Indonesia exploited a tremendous home-field advantage to sweep the gold medals offered in the sport on Monday in the 18th Asian Games.
Farr, 22, finished eight seconds slower that gold medal winner Khoiful Mukhib, who won gold in two minutes and 16.687 seconds.
Belgira, also 22 and an Asian Games first-timer like Farr, was 22 seconds off another local bet, Tiara Andini Prastika (2:33.056).
“It was a pure home-court advantage,” said Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez, PhilCycling’s MTB commission chairman who also worked the race as an International Commisaire for the cycling discipline.
Organizers allowed only one track walk and a tight three-hour practice ride for all foreign riders on the eve of the competitions, while the Indonesians, as hosts, had the luxury of making the course their home for the last three months.
“Had we ridden the course several times, we could have done better, if not vied for the podium,” said Farr, who bagged a bronze medal as a junior in the 2014 Asian championships Indonesian hosted in Sumatra.
For Guimaras pride Belgira, her sixth-place finish was more than enough to fuel her passion forn the event even more.
“I will train some more and focus on competitions like the Asian Games,” she said.
Chinese-Taipei’s Chiang Shengshang (1.493 seconds behind) clinched silver and Thailand’s Suebsakun Sukchanya (1.762 behind) bagged bronze in the men’s contest.
It was a 1 and 3 finish for Indonesia in the women’s race with Nining Porwaningsih (9.6-8 behind) completing the podium behind silver medalist Vipavee Deekaballes (9.598 behind) of Thailand.
Members of the Philippine secretariat in Jakarta, meanwhile, earned applause for their conscientious effort to have the bikes of Farr and Ariana Thea Patrice Dormitorio brought here in time for the races.
Philippine Sports Commission Head of Travel Maita Linco and Secretariat Head Arturo Aro made sure the bikes — which were bumped off from the Philippine Airlines flight that was cancelled because of the NAIA mess caused by a Xiamen Airlines plane last Friday — reached the athletes in time for their competitions.
Dormitorio was glad to train on her personal bike on Monday after making do with a bike and cycling shoes lent to her by the host federation.
Dormitorio and Nino Surban will race in MTB’s cross country on Tuesday.