Justin Liam Chiongbian, 16, and Aaliyah Ricci Mataragnon, 15, took on the multi-awarded and veterans in the sport of triathlon and emerged victorious by taking the inaugural male and female elite titles of the first Cebu City Triathlon contested early yesterday morning.
The sprint distance race started and ended at the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC). After the swim at the CCSC pool, the race took participants downtown beyond the Colon area before heading towards the South Road Properties in the bike section then uptown beyond the Fuente Osmena Circle towards the provincial capitol.
Chiongbian crossed the finish line with a time of one hour, six minutes and 24 seconds. His closest pursuer was none other than his younger brother, Yuan Chiongbian, who followed him past the finish line just two seconds later.
The Chiongbians relegated experienced and multi-awarded veteran athletes like Emmanuel Comendador, who came in at third with his time of 1:06:33, Joseph Miller at fourth place after clocking 1:07:39 and Noy Jopson, who finished at fifth place with his time of 1:08:32.
Mataragnon, on the other hand, owned the race after leaving eventual second placer Cianyl Jamae Gonzales in the run section, and completing the race in 1:18:55. Gonzales came in more or less two minutes behind clocking 1:20:11. The third placer was another young triathlete, Shaia Ruth Uy, who crossed the finish line with a time of 1:25:37, fourth and fifth places were garnered by Amale Jopson and Loveleinell Casidsid, who clocked 1:27:47 and 1:37:09, respectively.
Chiongbian, a member of the Philippine junior triathlon team, and Mataragnon, a member of the Philippine developmental pool for triathlon, each took a different approach for the race. While Chiongbian was all fired up in going up against the experienced racers, Mataragnon, on the other hand, balked at racing against them.
“I did a lot of preparation especially in the pool because I knew this was going to be an intense race and they (the veterans) are really experienced,” Chiongbian said.
Mataragnon, for her part, only signed up on the last day of registration but had started training right after the Batang Pinoy last December.
“I did not plan to join kay kusog kaayo ang mga kontra and di pa kaayo ko prepared (the competitors were strong and I did not have enough preparation) but my dad wanted me to test my limits,” Mataragnon said.
Both though admitted that having raced in the sprint distance mostly as a junior triathlete was an advantage because the race became familiar to them.
“My familiarity with sprint distance races was one of my motivation and it fueled my determination. I already know when to slow down or speed up,” Mataragnon said.
Despite that, the two said they did not expect to win against the experienced triathletes.
“This is my first race of the year, so I tried to do my best,” Chiongbian said.
Mataragnon, for her part, said she did not expect to win at all because she was up against the elites who have the experience.
She also said that she had a lot of help from fellow junior triathlete Raffy So who paced her despite injuring his foot when he stepped on a thumbtack in the transition area, and Issa Priagula, who was not able to race as she is still recuperating from an injury, acted as her water girl. “My family was also there supporting me all the way.”
AGE GROUP WINNERS:
1st Dianne Kaye Sy 1:46:52
2nd Nyza Archival 1:50:40
3rd Kristine Anne Dominique Sy 1:58:05
1st Rochelle Tan 1:25:48
2nd Tiffany Vick Ponce 1:36:13
3rd Danica Ramos 1:52:13
1st Charlene Salimbangon 2:14:54
1st Nia Aldeguer 1:20:13
2nd June Marq Ocana 1:33:21
3rd May Anne Mares 1:37:51
1st Hazel Busa 1:34:52
2nd Mary Luz Shimizu 1:36:36
3rd Tanya Sy 1:42:38
1st Alexander ray Diaz 1:20:59
2nd Jeppy Rabina Lumongsod 1:25:20
3rd Domiku Ugarte 1:25:48
1st Alvrig Busa 1:18:42
2nd Lecenio Pormento 1:19:36
3rd Marlon Cana 1:23:17
1st Gerard Cabatingan 1:10:39
2nd Ramie Lawas 1:16:15
3rd Sam Stevens 1:21:44
1st Obet Yance
2nd Joseph Burt Canete 1:31:19
3rd Allan Choachuy 1:32:11
1st Allan Tandayag 1:45:29
2nd Joseph Burth Canete 1:53:03
3rd Valeriano Cacayan 1:54:47