Philippines still upbeat on SEAG triathlon bid despite Huelgas' absence

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Philippines still upbeat on SEAG triathlon bid despite Huelgas' absence
Nikko Huelgas
Jun Mendoza

MANILA, Philippines — The Triathlon Association of the Philippines is optimistic it can capture four gold medals in the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Subic Bay next month despite back-to-back gold medal winner Nikko Huelgas’ decision to beg off and give way for younger teammates.

“My fearless forecast is we will win four out of the six gold medals at stake,” said TRAP president Tom Carrasco Thursday.

The 28-year-old Huelgas, who took the golds in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia two years ago and Singapore in 2015, had problems with injuries the past few years and did not get the two slots in the the men's individual event that went to younger countrymen Kim Remolino and John Chicano.

But Huelgas was still included in the mixed relay team before deciding to give that one up, denying himself of a chance for a SEAG three-peat feat.

“He (Huelgas) gave way to the younger triathletes in the national team,” said Carrasco.

Remolino, who is only 19 years old, is the country’s best bet to win the gold in the men’s side after emerging the top Filipino in the Asian Triathlon events in Subic last May and Gyeongju, South Korea last June when he finished at 17th place in both events and ahead of Chicano and Huelgas.

Chicano is also another favorite being the silver medal winner in the last edition of the biennial meet.

Kim Mangrobang, Kim Kilgroe and Claire Adorna are the country’s representatives in the women’s side.

Apart from the three golds in triathlon, Carrasco said the country has a chance to strike gold in the duathlon event where three golds will also be stakes — individual men and women and mixed team.

Members of the duathlon team are Doy Commendador and Jarwyn Banato (individual men), Monica Torres and Jelsie Sabado (individual women), Joey delos Reyes, Commendador and Ephraim Inigo (mixed team).

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