Filipino triathletes begin chase for Tokyo Olympic berth
Kim Mangrobang and Fernando Casares
STAR/Russell Palma

Filipino triathletes begin chase for Tokyo Olympic berth

Joey Villar (Philstar.com) - January 20, 2021 - 3:05pm

MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian Games gold medalists King Mangrobang and Fernando Casares start their quest for a spot in the Tokyo Games as they fly to the Desmor camp in Rio Major, Portugal late this month.

Triathlon Association of the Philippines president Tom Carrasco on Wednesday said Mangrobang and Casares would train under world-renowned Portuguese coach Sergio Santos from this month up to June in preparation for the qualifying races starting on March 15.

“It was announced recently by the world triathlon, the international federation of the sport, that the Olympic qualifiers will resume on March 15 worldwide,” said Carrasco.

Carrasco said he had already asked the help of Tokyo chef de mission Nonong Araneta and the Philippine Sports Commission in bankrolling the preparation of Mangrobang, Casares and rest of the national team hopefuls.

“We are coordinating with them on the funding of training expenses and competitions around Europe and Northern Africa of Mangrobang and Casares,” said Carrasco.

Mangrobang copped the women’s individual mint while Casares, a Filipino-Spanish, struck gold in the mixed relay team with Mangrobang, John Leerams Chicano and Claire Adorna in the 2019 SEAG in Subic.

Carrasco said the other Tokyo aspirants, men’s gold winner Chicano, silver medalist Kim Remolino will stay put in Cebu to train with Brett Sutton while silver medal winner Kim Kilgroe may stay put and train in Los Angeles, California where she is currently based.

To qualify, they would need to compete in as many qualifying races and finish in the top 70 to 75 in the world to qualify.

So far, Mangrobang is the closest among the Filipinos as she is ranked barely outside the top 100.

If they make the cut, they will join Tokyo-bound gymnast Caloy Yulo, pole-vaulter EJ Obiena, and boxers Eumir Marcial and Irish Magno.

If it doesn’t work, they would need to pray that the Philippines would be granted a wild card berth for new flag category since the country has never qualified an athlete to the quadrennial summer games.

Triathlon is set July 26-31 and will have three events — men's and women's individual and newly introduced mixed relay — in Tokyo.

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