John Leerams ‘Rambo’ Chicano basks in glory.
Russell Palma
Rambo, Kim star in triathlon golden sweep three-peat
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2019 - 12:00am

SUBIC, Philippines — They were the first to plunge into medal plays, and the Filipino triathletes delivered, emerging as the first golden winners for Team Philippines in the 30th Asian Games here.

Answering the starting gun at dawn, the Filipino bets wasted no time to seize early initiative, dominating the field en route to a double-gold sweep courtesy of John Leerams “Rambo” Chicano and Kim Mangrobang.

It’s a three-peat sweep for Team Phl after similar feats in 2015 in Singapore and 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

It’s actually a golden sweep on top of a double silver, underscoring the supremacy of the Filipinos in triathlon in the region.

The Olongapo-native Chicano won in the men’s side in a fast clocking of one hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds, surpassing the 1:59:30 mark of 2017 gold medalist Nikko Huelgas.

Mangrobang, for her part, covered the 1.5km swim – 40km bike – 10km run Olympic-distance race in 2:02:00 to claim her second SEA Games triathlon gold medal in a row.

Proving their supremacy in the region, the Philippines also secured silver medals with Andrew Kim Remolino (1:55:03) coming in second behind Chicano and Kim Kilgroe (2:05:02) following the trail of Mangrobang.

It’s second time in a row that Filipino triathletes scored a pair of 1-2 finishes in the Games. Huelgas and Chicano together with Mangrobang and Maria Claire Adorna achieved it in Malaysia.

Indonesians Muhammad Ahlul Firman (1:57:10) and Nethavani Octaria (2:16:33) settled for the bronze medals in the men’s and women’s category.

“This is for the country,” said the 28-year-old Chicano who actually started slow in the swim leg just like in his past races. “It’s an honor to deliver the country’s first gold medal in this year’s SEA Games. This is for the Philippines. This is for the Filipinos.”

Chicano gained footing in the bike course to form a two-man lead pack with teammate Remolino entering the ultimate four-loop run leg while still remaining cautious of the trailing Firman.

Then the experienced Chicano decided to take matter into his own hands in the first five kilometers, leaving Remolina off his dust on the way to a solo finish to wild cheers from the home crowd at the Subic Bay Boardwalk.

Mangrobang, on the other hand, was on a league of her own right off the bat, fashioning out a coast-to-coast victory that augured well for her bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

 “We’re trying to qualify for the Olympics,” said Mangrobang who was expected to rule the tournament even beforehand, explaining the gap between her and Kilgroe and their closest pursuer Octaria that extended to more than 16 minutes.

“We’re trying to become the first Filipino triathletes in the Olympics so we’re all out in achieving that dream.”

Mangrobang and Chicano also plunge into action in the team relay today.

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