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Mataragnon, Chiongbian rule inaugural Cebu City Triathlon

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol (The Freeman) - January 26, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines – Aaliyah Mataragnon and Justin Chiongbian showed that Cebu has a good future in triathlon after they topped the inaugural Cebu City Triathlon participated in by a bunch of elite competitors at the Cebu City Sports Center yesterday.

Mataragnon decided to join only two weeks before the race, but took her chances since it's only a sprint distance and junior triathletes like her are used to such distance. She finished the battle in one hour, 18 minutes and 55 seconds.

"I am used to this distance.We know now when to speed up and slow down. I think it's really giving us the advantage although I am planning to join standard distance races this year already," said Mataragnon, a member of the national training pool.

Cianyl Gonzales, one of the early favorites, was able to cut short her gap against the young Mataragnon in the bike part, but the latter was able to pull away with the help of her longtime training buddy, Ralph "Raffy" So, who paced her until she gets a comfortable lead again.

"I'm really very thankful to Raffy for pacing me. He was hurting a lot, but he was able to pace me until the turning point of the run part. Of course, I am very thankful to my other teammates and friends and family who kept on telling me where my opponnents are already and pushed me to the limits," added Mataragnon, a student of Sacred Heart School-Hijas de Jesus.

Aaliyah's victory instantly eased the pain that his dad, Ritche, was feeling after suffering a bad crash on the bike part.

Gonzales settled second overall with a 1:20:11 clocking, while Shaia Uy, who had been training abroad, could only get third place with the time of  1:25:57.

Veteran triathletes Amale Jopson and Love Casidsid settled for fourth and fifth in 1:27:47 and 1:37:09, respectively.

In the men's side, Chiongbian opened his 2015 season on a victorious note.

The Portugal-trained Chiongbian gave his brother Yuan some neat lessons in this three-in-one sport. Justin clocked in 1:06:24 to claim the top honors, while Yuan came in second at 1:06:26.

Emmanuel Commendador wound up third overall in 1:06:33, while Xterra pro Joseph Miller was fourth in 1:07:39. Former national triathlon record-holder Noy Jopson completed the top five list with the time of 1:08:32. (FREEMAN)

AALIYAH MATARAGNON AND JUSTIN CHIONGBIAN AMALE JOPSON AND LOVE CASIDSID CEBU CITY SPORTS CENTER CEBU CITY TRIATHLON CHIONGBIAN CIANYL GONZALES EMMANUEL COMMENDADOR JOSEPH MILLER MATARAGNON NOY JOPSON RAFFY
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