Mangrobang Seventh in Women’s Triathlon
PALEMBANG –Affected by the stifling early morning heat, Kim Mangrobang struggled in the last lap of the run leg to finish in seventh place in the 18th Asian Games women’s triathlon competitions that wound up in front of the Jakabaring Sport City Shooting Range on Friday.
Running in a tie for third after the 40-km bike race, the swim-bike-run event’s second leg, Mangrobang strained to keep pace with her faster running rivals, eventually fading to No. 7 in a time of two hours, five minutes and 20 seconds.
Filipino-American Kim Kilgroe, who at one point was second overall during the bike leg, had a respectable Asian Games debut in placing ninth (2:06.57) in the event handily won by Japanese top pick Yuko Takahashi (1:59.29), with China’s Zhong Menying (2:01.16) and Macau’s Hoi Long (2:01.28), taking silver and bronze, respectively.
“Masayang-masaya na rin po ako sa naging resulta ng laro ko. Nag-training kami ng mahirap para dito pareho ng mga kalaban. Lahat nag-handa. Pakiramdam na lang kung sino ang mas maganda na lang sa araw ng laro,” Mangrobang, the 2015 Southeast Asian Games triathlon queen, noted.
The 27-year-old pride of Sta. Rosa, Laguna refused to blame the sweltering and humid weather, which reached a high of 30-degree Celsius, for her performance, although she bared that it was only in the low-20s in Rio Maior, Portugal, where she has been training last week before coming over here.
“Medyo mainit pero manageable naman po,” said Mangrobang, who improved on her ninth-place finish from the previous edition held in Incheon, South Korea four year ago, of the draining race conditions diplomatically.
A member of the national team since 2016, Kilgroe was delighted by her maiden Asian Games outing, saying: “Just being being here is already an awesome experience for me. To be able to play for our country a and get a good finish exceeded my expectations.”
Women’s team coach Ani deleon Brown said she was generally satisfied by the performance of both her wards, but noted the hot conditions had affected Mangrobang “because she was coming over from Europe where the weather is still cool.”
“Had Kim (Mangrobang) managed to stay with the first pack, she could have wound up among the top five,” Brown added.
She pointed to the superb strategy of the Japanese duo of Takahashi, ranked No. 15 in the International Triathlon Union world ratings, and Yuka Sato in ensuring that the former was able to clinch the gold.
“Sato ‘killed’ the rest of the field and acted as the buffer so that her compatriot would win,” noted Brown of the Japanese, ranked No. 20 in the world, who eventually bowed out just a few meters into the 10-km. run leg,.
Sato was among the four casualties of the event’s scorching conditions, reducing the 22-man field to 18 entries.
Southeast Asian Games men’s triathlon champion Niko Huelgas and John Chicano are set to compete in the men’s triathlon scheduled for Saturday.