2017 SEA Games: Interview with the Philippines Nikko Huelgas and Coach Melvin Fausto

The Southeast Asian Games will begin open today at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  This will be the 2nd time the sport of Triathlon was included in SEA games.  In 2015, The Philippines’ Nikko Bryan Huelgas and Maria Claire Adorna bagged the golds for the Philippines.

We got a chance to talk with 2015 SEA Gold medalist Nikko Huelgas and his coach Melvin Fausto.

AsiaTRI:  How are you feeling right now, representing Philippines again in the SEA games?

Nikko:  I feel more relaxed than my previous races. I guess Im just focusing on what is my situation now and not think too much about whats gonna happen on race day. Im truly honored to represent the country again on this prestigious event. I’ll always be thankful.

AsiaTRI:  How was the preparation, training leading to the games?

Nikko: Besides physically preparing, we’ve been mentally preparing for this. We made sure that our minds will be tougher than any of our opponents. We did a lot of local races prior to the games to learn our own typical race prep and be able to monitor our progress thru these regular events, not to mention practicing performing under a lot of pressure.

AsiaTRI: What were the biggest hurdles, in your preparation?

Nikko: A lot of hard sessions, physical, mental and emotional.

AsiaTRI: What has Coach Melvin constantly reminded you throughout your training?

Nikko: Always be thankful to the Lord that we get to do what we love. Also, he’s been incredibly committed in being present in most workouts. He has helped me reinvent myself on all three disciplines thru consistent reminder and correction. You cant buy commitment to people. Its pure passion.

AsiaTRI: What do you think are your chances in repeating for Gold?

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Nikko: I can’t say because anything can happen on race day. But i assure you, i’ll give my 110% on raceday.

AsiaTRI: Coach Melvin, you have been a committed coach for Philippine Triathlon for so many years now, how long have you been at it?

Coach Melvin:  I started coaching for Duathlon team in 2005, 12 years old now.

AsiaTRI: You have been developing talent, and have honed the country’s best triathletes, what can you say is your biggest achievement as a coach?

Coach Melvin: My biggest achievement in coaching was being mentored by the best coaches in the business. Another achievement was the opportunity to see triathlon in all sorts of cultures and had worked with different level of triathletes, from age-groupers, elite juniors, olympians to world champions.

 AsiaTRI: You’re handling Nikko Huelgas and Rambo Chicano, I have noticed they transferred from Subic to Clark as their training ground, any reason for that? How have been their preparations?

Coach Melvin: Clark has been our home court since. Both Subic and Clark have their own unique training ground features. In terms of preparation for the upcoming SEAGAMES 2017 I found Clark Freeport Zone roads similar to that of Malaysia race course.  I can’t say that preparations will always be perfect, but with the help of our sponsors and government support, I am proud to say the team will be ready.  (Philippines Sports Commission (PSC), Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), Scracth It – Go for Gold, Chris Sports, Storck Manila, Ogio Perfomance bags, Rep. Pia Cayetano, Celgivity-Max International and Trisutto.)

AsiaTRI: We know that Nikko went Gold in 2015, and Rambo was not around in those games, what do you think are their chances to hit Gold, again?

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Coach Melvin: The chances of getting gold again is achievable, though too early to say it, anything may happen. We prepare for the worse but we’re aiming for the BEST! We are aiming for a low sub-2hour finish to both of them. Our objective is to raise the level of results in Southeast Asia.

 AsiaTRI: Rambo and Nikko are about to start, what’s your last pep talk to them?

Coach Melvin: We’ve been training for this big day away from our families and away from our comfort zones.  Our countrymen need athletes like you to bring back the Filipino pride!! Finish strong and fast…our families misses us already! 

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