SEA Games: Huelgas gives the Philippines a 2nd triathlon gold, Singapore's Loo is 3rd

Philippines' Huelgas Nikko Bryan celebrates winning the SEA Games men's triathlon, on June 7, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Philippines' Huelgas Nikko Bryan celebrates winning the SEA Games men's triathlon, on June 7, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - The Philippines established itself as the region's top triathlon nation on Sunday morning after Nikko Huelgas took the men's gold in a time of 2hr 4min 32sec.

This, after team-mate Maria Claire Adorna topped the women's field on Saturday at East Coast Park.

Huelgas, 23, came out from the 1.5km swim in fourth place, and started the run in fourth position. He then pulled ahead with a strong run, finishing ahead of silver medallist Shinozuka Rikigoro of Malaysia by 1min 3sec.

Said Huelgas: "I knew I was going to win the race 2km into the run."

Singaporeans Loo Chuan Rong and Chow Sheng Ren were third and fourth respectively.

While the duo had hoped for a podium finish for both of them, Loo was still pleased with the results, saying: "We shouldn't look at the situation like we lost a medal, but instead, won a medal for Singapore.

"We really wanted to win a medal for the two girls, especially Zhiyun who came so close."

Both Loo and Chow suffered injuries during the bike segment as they fell off their bikes. Loo injured his hip when he fell on the second lap, which affected his speed on the rest of the bike segment and the run. Chow also had to slow down after his crash on the first lap of the bike.

Still, Loo joked after the race: "Well, we're team mates. If one goes down, the other will too."

The bronze medal will be of some comfort to the Singapore triathlon team after Lin Zhiyun came close to a women's bronze on Saturday but failed to finish just 500m from the end due to heat exhaustion.

berelow@sph.com.sg

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