MANILA, Philippines – Kim Mangrobang led an impressive 1-2 finish by the Filipino bets in the women’s division of the Open Elite while the Aussie bets dominated the men’s side of the 23rd NTT-ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon (SuBIT) yesterday.
Mangrobang, the country’s No. 2 triathlete who had to cut short her high performance training in Portugal due to her father’s death last week, showed the gains she made by besting the field at Remy Field in two hours, 10 minutes, 40 seconds.
She made her move in the final 10K run leg after keeping pace with teammates Fil-Am Kim Kilgroe and SEAG gold medalist Claire Adorna in the 1.5K swim and 40K bike legs.
“I had no plans of joining but my coach told me just to race since I was already here. I just wanted to finish but when we got out in the run leg, I felt I could take it all the way to the finish,” said the 24-year-old Mangrobang after the race organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and held in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and presented by the SBMA Tourism Department with support from the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission.
Two weeks from now, Mangrobang who also ruled SuBIT’s Under-23 division two years ago, will be in Japan for the Asian Triathlon Championship, eyeing a top five finish to earn ITU points in her quest to make it to the 2020 Olympic Games.
Kilgroe, who lives in California but traces her mother’s roots in Zambales, conceded to Mangrobang in the run leg.
“I tried to catch up in the run leg but she was too strong. But I’m happy with my performance as I was expecting a podium finish this time from my 16th place last year, I prepared more seriously this time, “ said Kilgroe, who clocked 2:12.29.
Hong Kong’s Kate Rutherford timed 2:13.15 for third followed by injured Adorna in 2:19.59.
“I was frustrated because my foot injury is still bothering me, particularly in the bike, it was painful and was still hurting even after the race,” said Adorna, a five-time UAAP Most Outstanding Athlete.
Ting Ting Chang from Taipei came in fifth in 2:20.36.
Aussie Joel Tobin White, running his second SuBIT race, also turned in an impressive solo finish in 1:56.09 while Greek James Chronis, who used to run for Australia until he opted to campaign for his native country two years ago, placed second in 1:56.45 while another Aussie, James Thorp, placed third in 1:56.58.
Other backers of the event were Century Tuna, Standard Insurance, Gatorade, Asian Center for Insulation, Subic Holiday Villas, ACEA Subic Bay, Enervon, Biker’s Cafe, The Lighthouse Marina Resort and media partners Solar Sports, The Philippine STAR, Kikay Runner and PinoyFitness.com.
Tobin White, ranked sixth back home, pulled away from closest pursuer Chronis after the first lap of the run leg.
“ I put in a surge while he slowed down, I knew I could make it if I did well in the swim leg, and I did, the heat also did not bother me at all,” said the 23 year old professional triathlete who credited his coach Danielle Stefano at the Victorian Institute of Sport back in Melbourne.
Best placed among the male Filipino triathletes was Olongapo native John Chicano who finished eighth in 2:01.42.
“ I gave chase in the bike leg but the foreign competiton was just too strong. It’s all right, because I met my target here,” Chicano said.
In the men’s U-23, Singaporean Sumedha Um Kian Tat went home with the title, clocking 2:20.54, followed by Macau entries Chak Long Un (2:21.37) and Chi Meng Ieong (2:26.53).
Even as he admitted that the field was not as strong as it used to be because of another World Cup race in China on the same day, TRAP president Tom Carrasco, said “it was a good opportunity for our triathletes particularly Mangrobang to show what they are capable of doing.”
“We are on track with our preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games where we hope to qualify for the first time,” he said.