Success didn’t come easy for Southeast Asia Games 2015 Gold medal-winning triathlete Claire Adorna. Hailing from the Philippines, preparing for the event, held in Singapore, meant she had to be away from her family for nearly a quarter of a year. Throw in the fact that this feisty athlete competed with a tear on her left peroneal tendon (injured in a race the previous October) just makes her accomplishment all the more remarkable. But then, Adorna’s father and her coaches always made sure she was at least as mentally tough as she was physically.
The most amazing thing is, the people who set her on the road to triathlon glory came very much out of left field. Take, for instance, the ex-boyfriend who Adorna readily credits for introducing the sport to her the day that he lent her his bike. From there, Adorna, who had already been a successful swimmer for the University of the Philippines, realized she could compete in triathlons. After an initial experience that saw a family friend sponsor her first formal triathlon, Adorna was hooked. In 2013, she made the decision to make a career of it, and putting her studies temporarily on hold to properly prepare for the 2015 SEA Games. All throughout, her parents supported her.
Amusingly, some of Adorna’s most fervent supporters weren’t people at all, but rather, objects ranging from her equipment to the course itself. Indeed, one of her pre-race rituals is making sure to say a few words to things like the ocean, her shoes, and even her bike, to coax them into working as they should.
In a post-race interview on Spin.ph from June of this year, the 21-year old, clearly-emotional, spoke on triumphing in the triathlon category of Southeast Asia’s biggest sporting event. Despite the lingering pain in her ankle, the former-swimmer-turned-triathlete shared that what kept her going was her desire to honor the country of her birth: “Para sa bayan,” she says with a smile.
Anyone can be an athlete. But it takes a well-disciplined self and a circle of support loved ones to be the best of the lot, and if Claire Adorna can take on the SEA Games with a busted ankle, we can’t wait to see how far this talented triathlete will go.
First-time SEA Games triathlete Claire Adorna shares her thoughts following her Gold-winning race in June of this year. (youtube.com)