After their Gold Medal-winning performances at the previous SEA Games, returning triathlon champs Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna have hit the ground running in preparation for this year’s edition of the biennial competition. Training with a seven-member pool that includes John Chicaco, Edward Macalalad, Mark Hosana, Fil-American Kim Kilgroe, and 2015 Silver medalist Kim Mangrobang, hopes are high that the (eventual) two male and two female triathletes will do their part in fulfilling PATAFA’s (Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association) promise to bring home ten Gold medals this year.
Next month, Adorna, Mangrobang, Macalalad, and Hosana are scheduled to travel to Portugal for 90 days of intensive training under the eye of Coach Sergio Santos. Santos is a triathlon verteran, having mentored the likes of 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Vanessa Fernandes. At the same time, Huelgas and Chicano will be training under legendary Australian mentor Brett Sutton. Sutton, for whom mental toughness is just as important as any physical preparation, has trained coached many of the sport’s biggest names, including current Ironman world record holder Chrissie Wellington and Olympic Gold Medaliats Nicola Spirig (2012) and Emma Snowsill (2008).
While the current goal is to excel at the upcoming SEA Games, Triathlon Association of the Philippines Secretary General Tom Carrasco Jr. said that hopes are high for this pool to deliver equally stellar results at the 2018 Asian Games.
“It’s a strong pool and we hope that we can send the best representatives to defend our titles in the SEAG,” said Carrasco, Jr.