ASIAN GAMES: PHI triathletes plunge into action
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 30, 2018 10:27 PM
It will be the Philippine triathletes' turn to carry the country's pride in the 2018 Asian Games.
PALEMBANG --- Although virtually unbeatable in Southeast Asia, Nikko Huelgas and Kim Mangrobang are aware that they will be going up against Asia’s big guns in the 18th Asian Games triathlon competitions unfolding on Friday.
Reigning Southeast Asian Game’s women’s triathlon champion Mangrobang and vastly-improved Fil-Am Kim Kilgroe take first crack in the swim-bike-run event starting at 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. in Manila) within and around the Jakabaring Sport City complex here.
“With her present from, a top 5 finish would not be farfetched for Kim, and if she steps up, I woudn’t be surprised of a podium finish,” said coach Annie de Leon-Brown of the Europe-trained Mangrobang, who placed ninth in the last Asiad held in Incheon, South Korea four years ago.
While defending Japanese champion Ai Ueda is not around, compatriot Yuka Sato, ranked No. 20 in the International Triathlon world ratings, looms as the top favorite in the women’s division, Brown pointed out
Huelgas, a two-time SEA Games goild medalist, and John Chicano, the 2017 Malaysian SEA Games medalist, will see action in the men’s competition on Saturday, and which Brown said would be even tougher considering there will be more entries.
“If either Nikko or John finish in the top 10 we would be happy,” Brown said.
In the mixed relay on Sunday, Huelgas and Mangrobang will be joined by Claire Adorna, the 2017 Singapore SEAG gold medalist, and Mark Hosana, she added.
“Claire and Mark were chosen (to be part of the team) because they were really meant for the mixed relay, which promises to be an exciting race,” Brown stressed.
While she had no complaints about the swim leg at the JSC man-made lake, the coach was a bit worried about the bike course “because we saw there were still grains of sand on the road during practice. This could result in accidents once the triathletes race around the route, which is a bit technical (hard).”
Brown said that they were assured by Asian Games organizers that they would clear the road of sand to make it safe and secure for the riders.