A look at the Philippines’ triathlon and duathlon missions at the 31st SEA Games

As the 31st Southeast Asian Games (AKA the 31st SEA Games, SEA Games 31 and Hanoi 2021) in Vietnam comes closer, the excitement and suspense grow stronger which naturally comes with foreseeing the outcome (note: positions and medals) in certain sports events. For this, we will focus on the triathlon and duathlon events of this year’s SEA Games through what was mentioned during the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s (PSA) recent livestream that had 2019 SEA Games gold medalist John Chicano and triathlon-duathlon coach Melvin Fausto as guests which the Manila Bulletin reported about.

For the newcomers reading this, John Chicano won for the Philippines the gold medal in the men’s triathlon event of the 2019 SEA Games which was held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. His teammate Kim Mangrobang did the same in the women’s triathlon of the said SEA Games. To know more about Chicano and Mangrobang, read my past feature articles of them here and here. Be aware that Chicano and Mangrobang were perceived to be the favorites in the multisport events of the SEA Games in Vietnam. Before they and their teammates proceed to Vietnam, they have a big triathlon event this Sunday (May 1) – the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). SUBIT was mentioned in the PSA livestream. Those of you who are here in the Philippines who have the means and available time this weekend, I encourage you to visit the Subic Bay Freeport Zone to watch the SUBIT live in-person as you will have opportunities to see Mangrobang, Chicano and the many other Philippine Team members race.

Going back to the current topic, Chicano and Fausto were interviewed live by the PSA and you can watch the full video at https://fb.watch/cDsxPptWcH/

2019 SEA Games gold medalist John Chicano and coach Melvin Fausto (lower-right corner) during the PSA livestream of April 26, 2022.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Manila Bulletin sports report about the PSA livestream. Some parts in boldface…

The Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) guns for 1-2 finishes in the triathlon and duathlon events of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam next month.

National team coach Melvin Fausto disclosed this Tuesday, adding they are sending their strongest teams to achieve that goal.

The triathlon squad is composed of Fer Casares, Kim Remolino, Kim Mangrobang and Raven Alcoseba, with John Chicano and Lauren Plaza as reserves.

The duathlon crew, meanwhile, will have Chicano, Raymund Torio, Mangrobang and Alex Ganzon Dumaran with Casares and Alcoseba as reserves.

Fausto said the shift of Chicano from triathlon to duathlon is a strategic move to achieve that gold medal.

Chicano competed and won the gold in triathlon at the 2019 SEAG edition.

“Si John kasi, he’s a strong runner like Raymund. Duathlon talaga siya malakas, so yun yung wino-work out natin ngayon,” Fausto said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum.

For Chicano, it would be a challenge. He is also using the SEAG as a training ground for his duathlon event at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in July.

Sana makuha namin yung gold and silver kasi maganda naman yung teammup namin ni Raymund,” Chicano said.

“Pukpukan din yung preparation namin dito sa Clark.”

Aside from the medals, Fausto said they are also seek to improve their athletes’ times by aiming to finish under one hour and 50 minutes in triathlon.

“Mas focused na tayo sa time ngayon eh. Part na yun ng strategy. Like nung last SEAG, naka-focus kami mag 1:55 sa triathlon tapos nag-1:53 si John for the gold medal. Ngayon ang focus namin maka 1:50 to win the gold,” Fausto said.

“Saka yung goal natin is to improve their time to world-class level, lalo na si John na qualified sa World Games.”

As you can see in the above excerpt, the stakes are high for the Philippine Team on triathlon and duathlon. They have been training intensely not just for the SEA Games (set for May 12 to 23, 2022) but also for the Subic Bay International Triathlon. They are training intensely as they know that their Southeast Asian competitors in triathlon and duathlon have intensified (see the related details in the paragraph below). They are training not just for medals but for honors for the Philippines. That being said, May 2022 is indeed a crucial month for the Philippine Team members and their coaches as they have two major events to compete in.

The notable details

During the early part of the PSA livestream, coach Melvin stated that triathlon is indeed a growing sport and in due time it will become a more relevant sport for Filipinos and Asians. The coach made clear his dedication to triathlon is very strong. Take note that he was involved during the Philippine Team’s previous SEA Games campaigns. When it comes to their SEA Games competitors, the coach mentioned Indonesia as a well-supported and growing force in triathlon. He also mentioned that competitors from Singapore, Malaysia and host country Vietnam will be present. That being said, expect fierce competition for the SEA Games triathlon and duathlon gold medals. With regards to John Chicano, things will be different as he will engage in the men’s duathlon at this year’s SEA Games. For the newcomers reading this, duathlon is a multisport event with a run-bike-run format.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about the triathlon and duathlon events in the SEA Games this year? Do you believe the Philippines will win gold and silver in the SEA Games triathlon and duathlon events? Do you intend to visit Subic Bay to watch in person the SUBIT on May 1? Do you plan to travel all the way to Vietnam to watch the SEA Games events in-person?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

For other SEA Games-related articles, click here, here, here, here, here and here.

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