Sweep of SEA Games gold medals just the start for PH triathlon, says Huelgas
SEA Games triathlon champ Nikko Huelgas was treated to a homecoming dinner in Ortigas on Wednesday night. Jan Ballesteros

NIKKO Huelgas savored the milestone Filipino triathletes achieved in asserting their dominance in the sport at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Malaysia.

But the two-time SEA Games men’s triathlon champ isn’t satisfied in just raising the bar for the region, but looks forward to conquering a bigger stage.

Huelgas defended his title in the regional meet by clocking one hour, 59 minutes, and 30 seconds on Monday. Compatriot John Chicano came in second in 2:03:24.

"We have delivered the best result for triathlon ever. Wala ka ng ma-iimprove dun. I'm so honored to be part of that event," Huelgas told reporters during his homecoming dinner in Ortigas.

"With that, we have set the bar higher for Southeast Asia. We were able to showcase that we are able to get to the next level. The SEA Games is just the first level, this is just the beginning."

But while he is atop the sport in Southeast Asia, the 26-year-old triathlete is motivated to become even better.

"There's always something to improve on and that is what's fun in this journey," he said. 

When asked about his plans, the former La Salle swimmer and trackster said nothing is cast in stone yet. But he's looking forward to the 2018 Asian Games. 

"Honestly, wala pa," he said. "My federation and my teammates will meet pa lang. After the success, hopefully we can have four days off and then meeting na."

By copping his second gold in the biennial competition, Huelgas easily becomes the face of the sport but he’s not backing down from the pressure that comes with it. 

"I'm up to the challenge. Maybe this is what God wants me to do.  I'm willing to do whatever it takes to deserve what I have," he said.  

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