by Iste S. Leopoldo, Staff Writer
Mike Limpag, Sports Editor
NATIONAL team member Lorhiz Echavez and Ralph Arche bagged a title each in the protest-marred Speedo National Age Group Triathlon series yesterday at the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa.
Echavez secured the title in the women’s 20 to 29 age group after crossing the finish line in 2:19.41. She was followed by Jordan Ylang-ylang (2:15.52) and Archie Jane Margen (2:51.57).
It was Echavez’s second straight win after topping the Davao City leg last month.
Arche, on the other hand, finished the event in 1:49.37 to secure the title in the men’s 25 to 29 division. He was followed by Gerie Calinawan (1:47.36) and Franz Baguio (1:49.09).
This year’s edition, which had a one-kilometer swim, 30K bike and a 7.5K run, was considered the biggest event in the history of triathlon in Cebu after attracting 212 participants.
“I am happy with the turnout of the event and it shows the resurgence of triathlon in Cebu,” Triathlon Association of the Philippines executive director Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez said.
Despite the success, several protests were filed against winners who allegedly did not complete the four loops in the bike discipline. Cebu’s veteran triathlete Amale Jopson was also disqualified from the race after she missed two loops due to a miscommunication with the marshal.
Jopson said after finishing the second loop, she was told by the marshal to proceed to the next discipline, which was running. She got confused because the bike discipline was supposed to cover four loops and she asked the marshal for confirmation, twice.
She was told the same thing, which led to her missing two loops.
However, Jopson said she has no plans of filing a protest as long as she will not be blamed for her disqualification.
Another protest was raised in the women’s 30-39 years old age group by one participant who said some did not complete the 30K bike discipline.
“It’s a huge disadvantage, then unfair pud sa mga out-of towners to be cheated out of their medals,” said a participant who asked not to be named.
Rodriguez said they will wait for a written complaint.
“Regarding the protests, we will wait for a written complaint and we will investigate the incident,” Rodriguez said.
Loveienell Casidsid dominated the 30-39 division in 2:13.36, while Tricia Chongbian Concepcion was second in 2:34.22 and Rachel Limtong got the third spot in 2:15.25.
Aside from the protests, an accident also marred the bike discipline after 36-year-old Margaret Buot Tan injured her left arm during a fall. Tan was brought to the Mactan Doctors’ Hospital.
Other winners in the men’s division yesterday were Gavin Gianni Solijon (16-19), Kristiane Glendale Lim(20-24), Elmo Clarabal (30-34), Noy Jopson (35-39), Rene Concepcion (40-44), Junki Flores (45-49) Douglas Sharpe (50-54),Wayne Macdousall (55-59) and Nigel Short (60 and over).
Winners in the women’s division were Niña Ignacio (16 years old and below), Frances Samantha Tiro (16-19) and Merlie Colmenares (40 and over).
In the relay event, 17-year-old Loren Dale Echavez, Niño Surban and Michael Estrera won the over the team of Luis Miguel Maximo, Alex Qui and Jose Lao III. Kristian Graciano, Marben Golez and Daryl Igot got the third spot.
Loren Dale, 17, and Surban, were the first to finish the swimming and biking disciplines.
Despite topping a second triathlon relay event, Loren Dale has no plans of shifting sports.
“Swimming is my calling. Triathlon is not for me. I would rather focus on what I am good at,” Lorendale said.