TOKYO – The country’s most bemedalled Southeast Asian Games tanker Miguel Molina is considering a switch to triathlon now that he’s retired from competitive swimming and said last weekend it might be the way to return to the Olympics.
Molina, 28, opted to retire last year and give the next generation a chance to make waves in the London Olympics. He’s now working full-time as an account executive with CareerCross, an on-line job placement company for bilinguals here. Molina commutes every day about an hour both ways by train for work from home to his Shibuya office and back.
Molina was with his parents Tom and Mitos cheering for the Philippine team against Qatar in the third place game of the FIBA Asia Cup at the Ota General Gym last Saturday. His parents were also at the gym for Smart Gilas’ game against Iran the previous day. Molina’s parents are teachers in a Tokyo international school. Molina was born in Manila and moved here when he was three with his parents’ relocation for work. He studied at St. Mary’s International School from Grade 1 to 12 then transferred to the University of California at Berkeley where he joined the swimming varsity.
From 2001 to 2009, Molina garnered 11 gold, seven silver and seven bronze medals as a national swimmer at the SEA Games. He competed in two Asian Games and two Olympics. In 2007, Molina was named the most outstanding athlete in the SEA Games for bagging four gold medals and a silver. For his efforts, he was named Athlete of the Year by the Philippine Sportswriters Association.
“I just swim to stay in shape now,” said Molina. “A friend of mine invited me to join a triathlon in Yokohoma over the weekend but I’m not yet prepared to compete. I do running and biking so with my swimming experience, I could be competitive if I train hard. I’ve heard how popular triathlon is now in the Philippines particularly with the success of the Ironman event. Who knows? It might bring me back to the Olympics someday. I heard the Philippines had a relatively small delegation in London but I think the experience will go a long way in making better swimmers of Jessie (Lacuna) and Jasmine (Alkhaldi) who are just both teenagers.”
Triathlon was introduced to the Olympic program in 2000 with distances of 1.5 kilometers for swimming, 40 kilometers for biking and 10 kilometers for running. In the Ironman event staged in the Philippines, the distances are 1.9 kilometers for swimming, 90 kilometers for biking and 21.1 kilometers for running.
Molina said he’s studying options for the future at the moment with his girlfriend of three years Marie, a Japanese who was born and raised in the US. The options include marriage plans.
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Sonia Trading chairman Kay Sham flew to Tokyo to join Molten executives in hosting a thank-you lunch for PBA commissioner Chito Salud, chairman Robert Non, vice chairman Ramon Segismundo, operations director Rickie Santos and special assistant to the commissioner Willie Marcial at a French restaurant close to the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa here during a break in the FIBA Asia Cup last Thursday.
Sonia Trading has been the Philippines’ exclusive distributor of Molten basketballs for over 20 years. Sham, 81, moved to Manila from India with his father in 1952 and was a working student at FEU. He was employed as a salesman with the Dunhill Department Store at the corner of Rizal Avenue and Raon while earning his undergraduate degree at FEU. After graduation, he was a supervisor at a garment factory in Polo, Bulacan and later set up Sonia Trading. Today, Sonia Trading is an established name in the sports industry with distribution rights to several top brands and a new company Sonak has emerged to consolidate the family’s expanding businesses. His son Anil Buxani now heads the day-to-day operations of the Sonia/Sonak group.
Molten general manager of the international market sales and marketing department, sports division, Minoru Yamada and Asia Group manager Takeshi Fuki welcomed the PBA officials. Molten has been the FIBA’s official ball since 1981 and its revolutionary 12-panel ball is the standard at the World Championships and Olympics. The 12-panel ball was introduced in the PBA in 2005.
Sham lives half the year in Manila and the other half in Beas in northwest India near the Pakistan border. He is the international ambassador of the Science of the Soul and oversees meditation centers in over 100 countries. Science of the Soul is a way of life that seeks to enlighten and understand God’s teachings through transcendental meditation.
Other PBA officials who were in Tokyo were Talk ‘N’ Text governor Ricky Vargas and alternate governor Patrick Gregorio.