SAYING he’s excited and pressured at the same time on the eve of the biggest race of his young career, Andrew Kim Remolino sets out as the favorite as he tries to reward Team Philippines its first gold medal today in the 30th Southeast Asian Games traithlon competitions in Subic Bay.
The 19-year-old Remolino, a prized find from Talisay. Cebu, plunges into action knowing the weight of expectations he’s carrying and hopes he won’t let his countrymen down as he takes a shot at the gold medal in a sport which has been kind to Filipino triathletes in the biennial sporting showpiece.
“I’m a bit pressured and at the same time excited for the event,” said Remolino during a break in training in Subic Bay, looking good as he tries to replicate reigning titlist but absentee Nikko Huelgas’ triumphant stint in the 2015 and 2017 editions.
Remolino will be joined by 2017 silver medalist John Leerams Chicano in the search for the first gold by the host squad as they compete in the men’s division of the event featuring 1.5-km swim, 40-km bike and 10-km run stages.
At a little past 8:30 a.m. today, fans will know whether Remolimo and Chicano have succeeded or not.
A few hours later after the men’s division action, it will be the turn of Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgore to run, swim and bike as they see action in the women’s class where they completed an overpowering 1-2 finish two years ago in Kuala Lumpur.
Remolino is well aware of the heavy burden he’ll carry as he tries to make his first SEA Games stint something to remember.
For one, he’s stepping into the shoes of the great Huelgas. For another, he has been rated highly since ruling the two qualifying events held to pick the country’s bets in the sport.
“It’s going to be tough. There are a lot of very good triathletes out there. But I’ll give my best shot. We will all give our best,” said Remolino, adding that running—and winning— in the SEA Games have always been a dream.
Like him, Chicano is targeting his first ever triumph after a runnerup finish to Huelgas the last time.
Chicano said they have the home-court advantage, but was quick to say that complacency has no room in the team.
“Andyan pa rin ‘yung Singapore eh, malakas pa rin ‘yung lineup nila ngayon eh. Tinitignan din namin ‘yung Malaysia and Vietnam kasi malakas daw ‘yung swimmer nila so tignan natin,” said Chicano. “Pero gold pa rin ang target natin.”
The honor of rewarding the country its first gold medal in Kuala Lumpur went to Mary Joy Tabal, who won the women’s marathon in overpowering fashion in a victory that sent PH officials jumping in glee like chimpanzees.
Meanwhile, hostilities in other fronts, kick off earnestly today with action in Division A 4-6 goals of polo firing off at 1 p.m. at the Inigo Zobel and Miguel Romero Polo Facilities in Calatagan, Batangas.
Other gold medals at stake for the day are in dancesport (Breaking men/women, and Latin) at the Royce Hotel in Clark, Pampanga, floorball (women’s/men/s) at the UP Kinetics Gym in QC, gymnastics (individual all-around) at the Rizal Memorial Coliseum, ice figure skating (seniors men and ladies) at SM Megamall, kurash (5 weight divisions) at the Laus Group Event Center in Pampanga, netball in Sta. Rosa Multi Sports Complex in Laguna, polo (4-6 Goals), weightlifting (women’s 45kg and men’s 55kg) at the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, wushu (4 golds) at the World Trade Center with sepak takraw (men’s/women’s hoop event) the last gold to be offered in a busy day at Subic Bay gym.
The beach handball will be the last gold to be disputed at 11 a.m. on December 11 at Subic tennis court with the closing ceremonies slated in the afternoon at New Clark City.