FRESH from their gold and silver medal wins for the country in the 2015 Southeast Asian Games, triathletes Maria Claire Adorna and Marion Kim Mangrobang left for Taiwan on Wednesday to compete in the 2015 New Taipei ASTC Triathlon Asian Championships on Friday.
“It has always been my dream to represent the country, so it is a big honor for me also to win. I am happy to bring pride to all Filipinos,” said the 21-year-old Adorna, who gave the Philippines its first gold medal in the 28th SEA Games in Singapore.
Adorna and Mangrobang were trained locally by another successful Filipina triathlete, Ani De Leon-Brown. They also underwent further training in Portugal and Australia.
“The New Taipei ASTC Triathlon will definitely be a tougher field for our athletes as there will be more countries competing, not just from the Asean; it will be the entire Asia. But we are still aiming for a Top Ten finish for our triathletes,” said Brown, who has over 20 years of triathlon experience behind her.
Brown reiterated that the training they provide is for the long haul, all the way to the 2020 Olympics.
“It does not end here. It is not an overnight thing either. It involved years or even decades of investment on training. The time and energy we invested as well as the blood and sweat of the athletes paid off with their recent victory,” said Brown.
The SEA Games victory has also provided much-needed boost to a sport which for the longest time was not among the priority of the country in international competitions.
“Our triathletes have proven that we can compete and win internationally. So it is a big boost to the local triathlon community and we will be given more attention and priority,” said Brown.
The coach has high hopes for the future of triathlon in the country and on the young generation of triathletes.
Adorna is only 21 years old and has only been in the triathlon circuit for two years. She started as a swimmer of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman varsity swimming team. She urges aspiring triathletes to pursue their dreams, work hard and to “don’t stop believing.”
The triathletes are also grateful for the generous support of their sponsors particularly United Laboratories, Inc (Unilab) — both are members of the Elite Team of Unilab Active Health.
“Triathlon is an expensive sport, so without the support of Unilab Active Health, especially in sponsoring our trainings abroad and providing us the equipment as well as sports nutrition, we could not have made it this far,” said Adorna.