Filipino triathletes seek to continue winning tradition in biennial games

HANOI—Andrew Kim Remolino takes his turn to shoot for the gold medal as Kim Mangrobang defends her women’s crown in 31st Vietnam Southeast Asian Games triathlon action set at sunrise at the Sunset Bay in Tuan Chau.

Remolino, 22, Cebu’s top triathlete, clinched silver in the Philippine 2019 SEA Games at the Subic Bay Freeport where John Leerams “Rambo” Chicano won gold for the country.

This time around, the responsibility to keep the Philippines kings of the sport—a 1.5-km swim, 40-km bike and 10-km run event—in the region lies on Remolino as well as on Filipino-Spanish Fernando Tan Caseres, 26.

“Our goal is to help each other and the priority is to retain the gold and silver medal,” said Remolino, a six-year national team mainstay. “It doesn’t matter if I settle for silver again as long as the Philippines keeps the gold.”

Remolino clocked 1:55:03 to Chicano’s 1:53:26 in Subic but triathlon is a fickle sport that winners are decided on how the elements at the time of the competition are reacting.

“There are a lot of newcomers here, so hopefully we can still make it,” he said. “But we’ll do our best, of course.”

Mangrobang, who won in two hours and two minutes in 2019, will be backed up by Raven Faith Alcoseba in the women’s race.

Triathlon coach George Vilog expressed confidence his wards will be up to the task.

“It’s going to be the same finish–1 and 2 or gold and silver,” Vilog said. “Our triathletes and duathletes are in good condition so I believe we can still retain the title.”

Chicano will race this time in the duathlon on Sunday with Raymund Torio in the men’s category. Mangrobang will do double duty by also competing in the women’s class with Alex Ganzon.

Triathlon Association of the Philippines President Tom Carrasco also expressed confidence his wards can win a minimum of two gold medals and a maximum of four.

“We can pull that off,” he said.

The race starts at 6 a.m. (Hanoi time), with the venue a three-hour drive from the Vietnamese capital.