THE success of triathletes Claire Adorna and Kim Mangrobang in the recently concluded Southeast Games has the duo and top backer Unilab Active Health (ULAH) setting their sights on a bigger prize - the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Adorna and Mangrobang, who took gold and silver, respectively, in women's triathlon in Singapore, both trained abroad courtesy of ULAH in the lead-up to the SEA Games. Adorna spent three months in Australia while Mangrobang was sent to Portugal for the same period.
Coach Ani de Leon-Brown, who helped select the two women to be part of the ULAH Elite Team, admitted the cost of training is considerable, amounting to around P3 to 4 million per athlete on a yearly basis.
"Our ultimate goal is the 2020 Olympics. They already have the talent, commitment and discipline. What they need is training abroad and to compete internationally," said de Leon-Brown, the fastest Filipina in the Ironman Triathlon.
During a media luncheon sponsored by ULAH in Tomas Morato in Quezon City on Thursday, Adorna, 22, and Mangrobang, 23, expressed their commitment up to 2020.
"Our foreign coaches already talked to our parents and they are all supportive," said Mangrobang, who has been racing in triathlon since she was 15 years old.
Adorna, a former member of the UP swim team, added rhetorically, "Who wouldn't want to go to the Tokyo Olympics?"
Lester Castillo, ULAH PR & Events head, assured his company's support for the endeavor.
"ULAH has aligned its vision with Coach Ani and we are ready to support our top elite athletes," Castillo said, noting it would be a consolidated effort between sponsors and private groups.
"Bayan naman ang makikinabang dito," Castillo noted.
Asked about the chances of the two women to qualify for the Olympics, de Leon-Brown answered, "One hundred percent, kaya nila iyan."
Apart from overseas training, de Leon-Brown explained the girls would need to compete in International Triathlon Union (ITU)-accredited races to score the necessary points to qualify for the Olympics.