PALEMBANG – The Philippines capped its campaign in the 18th Asian Games by finishing sixth in mixed relay of triathlon on a sunny Sunday morning.
Teaming up for the first time in a major event, the Philippine quartet — Claire Adorna, John Chicano, Kim Manrobang and Asian Games newcomer Mark Anthony Hosana — logged a total time of one hour, 39 minutes and .08 seconds in the 300-meter swim, 6.3-km. bike and 2.1-km run to finish sixth out of 13 countries that saw action in the event held at the Jakabaring Sports City.
Fresh from one-month training in Johore Bahru in Malaysia, the squad matched the sixth-place finish of the country with the team composed of Adorna, Niko Huelgas, Mangrobang and Chicano in the 2014 Incheon Games.
The Filipinos finished eight minutes and 29 seconds behind gold medalist Japan (1:30.39), which swept all three golds at stake in the sport, with Korea (1:32.21) and surprising Hong Kong (1:33.04) bagging the silver and bronze medals, respectively.
“Claire is our strongest swimmer while Kim and John are our strongest links in the relay so we placed them in the middle,” said national men’s coach Melvin Fausto of the team’s strategy. “Those two athletes served as the bridge so hindi masyadong makalayo ang kalaban (other teams won’t pull away that much).”
The battle for top honors was intense because the Asian Games served as an Olympic qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games where the mixed relay will be a medal sport for the first time in the sportsfest, explained national women’s coach Ani De Leon Brown.
With Japan assured of a slot as the host, the other two will go to the silver and bronze medalist in the mixed relay “kaya patay kung patay kung lumaban ang mga strong teams dito (strong teams really have to give their best),” noted Brown.
Assessing the overall performance of the triathlon squad, Triathlon Association of the Philippines president Tom Carrasco said “we need more training overseas and competition to bring ourselves closer Asian level of Japan, Korea and China.
This is why we sent Kim to train in Portugal while the other team members are now training in Johore Bahru.”