Chicano wins 1st seag gold as triathletes complete golden sweep

chicano wins 1st seag gold as triathletes complete golden sweep

OLONGAPO – Living up to their lofty expectations, Filipino triathletes made a golden sweep in ruling the men’s and women’s divisions of the first sport ushering in full hostilities in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games here on Sunday.

Earning the distinction as the country’s first gold medalist was John Chicano, who led a 1-2 finish with teammate Kim Remolino at the Subic Baywalk course inside the Subic Freeport Zone here.

Not wanting to disappoint his hometown fans, Chicano pulled away after the first three kilometers of the last leg, the 10-km. run, in fashioning the country’s first gold medal in the 30th edition of the 11-nation sports spectacle.

The Olongapo-born athlete clinched the mint in a personal best and record-breaking time of one minute and 53.26 seconds, topping the old mark of 1:59 30 set by Nikko Huelgas when he won his second straight men’s SEAG triathlon title two years ago in Malaysia.

Cebuano Remolino, who had led the opening 1.5-km. swim leg, was content in settling for silver (1:55.02) while Indonesian Mohammad Ahlul Firman took the bronze (1:57.10).

Making it a double celebration were defending women’s champion Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe, who placed first and second, respectively, in runaway fashion on the distaff side.

Using her craftiness in the second leg, the 40-km. bike run, Remolino drafted behind Kilgroe before using her running prowess to speed off in the last leg en route to a winning time of 2:02.00 to the latter’s 2:05.02. Indonesia’s Octaria Nehtavani took bronze (2:16.33).

“Di ko masabi po ang anong kaligayahang nararamdam ko. Iba talaga,” said the Olongapo-born Chicano after his near-perfect performance under ideal conditions.

“We were aiming for a time of 1:55 but he did better than that. So I’m proud because he also set a new SEA Games record,” noted men’s triathlon head coach Melvin Fausto.

“Dedicated ko po ito sa aking pamilya, sa aking anak na si Lira at sa aming magiging bagon anak,” he added as his 10-year-old daughter quietly sidled beside him while being interviewed.

“Okay lang po na mag-second lang ako kay kuya Rambo, basta sino lang sa amin ang makakuha ng gold,” said Remolino, 19, of being the bridesmaid to his veteran teammate.

The victory was vindication for the perseverance and hard work of Chicano, who had been with the national team for the last 10 years.

In the 2015 Singapore Games, he had sacrificed himself in protecting the pace-setting Huelgas, who was fighting cramps, from his rivals and failed to make it to the podium.

Two years ago in the Malaysia SEAG, Chicano was content to play second fiddle to Huelgas anew, but there was no denying him the third time around on his home ground.

Among those delighted by the outcome was Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator and chairman Wilma Eisma, an Olongapo native, who embraced Chicano immediately after he crossed the finish line.

“I’m just teary-eyed because I am from Olongapo and Rambo is from Olongapo and he gave our country the first gold medal in the SEA Games,” Eisma, adding that SBMA would give a cash bonus for its local hero.

With his feat, Chicano is already guaranteed a total of P600,000 in incentives: P300,000 from Repuplic Act 10699, the new incentives law, and P300,000 from the Philippine Olympic Committee.

See more >>> World gymnastics champ yulo in golden sea games debut

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *