City of Naga: Perfect Triathlon Venue
For Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) gold medalist Nikko Huelgas , there was more than just winning the National Age Group Triathlon (NAGT) Series Cebu Leg that was held for the first time in the City of Naga, south Cebu on Sunday.
Huelgas was virtually uncontested in winning the men’s elite standard distance as the 27-year-old top male triathlete in the Philippines clocked two hours, two minutes and four seconds to beat Cebuano and fellow national team member Kim Andrew Remolino, who crossed the finish line in 2:05.51.
Jory Ycong of Rider Omega Tri Team settled for third place with a time of 2:05.58.
Huelgas said he competed not just to win, but to help promote the sport of triathlon to the people of the City of Naga.
The small industrial city located 20 kilometers south of Cebu City is eyed by many triathlon organizers as the next perfect venue to hold their races. On Sunday, it was proven right with no less than Huelgas giving a big thumbs up.
“I was never here for the money. I was here to support the federation because this is sanctioned by my federation (TRAP), and it is something new,” said Huelgas who is planning to enlist in the Philippine Air Force next year. “It is something that it is held on the countryside. The course is beautiful, probably the most beautiful swim course I have ever seen. It is very spectator friendly, at the same time you don’t get lost, and the fans are very supportive.”
Huelgas admitted he would love to come back and race in Naga again if given the chance.
“I love the people here. Definitely next year, I will be back here to support the event,” said Huelgas, who raced in Cebu for three times already. Last May, he ruled the triathlon event of the Philippine National Games (PNG) held in Tabuelan town, northwest Cebu.
Tonyson Luther Lee of the organizing TSE Live Inc. hopes the success of the event will pave the way for more races to be held in this booming city.
“We are the first to hold a triathlon here so definitely a lot of triathlon organizers will see our success and think about having their race here. For me the venue is perfect, the race was perfect because of the participants’ very positive feedback, the race was smooth and well organized. Hopefully, we can stage a bigger race here next year,” said Lee.
The race was supposed to be held last October 7 but was rescheduled after disaster struck the city when a landslide covered part of Barangay Tina-an on September 20. It killed 78 with five still missing.
In the distaff side, fellow national team member and SEAG gold medalist Maria Claire Adorna won the title with a time of 2:29.31 while Organique Triathlon’s Rue Reinhardt Pañibon (2:35.38), and Cianyl Jamae Gonzales (2:40.09) of Rider Omega Tri Team placed second and third, respectively.
Renz Wynn Corbin (1:02.38) and Karen Andrea Manayon (1:09.24) topped the junior elite sprint category while Moira Frances Erediano (48:32) and Jan Paul Alexandrie Orong (43:31) of the national team dominated the super sprint category.
The standard distance has a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40k bike and 10k run, while the sprint distance has a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run and the super sprint distance is a 500m swim, 14k bike and 2.5k run.
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