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New Clark City hosts successful inaugural triathlon; Chicano, Plaza top Elite races

More than a thousand athletes participated in the first-ever triathlon held in New Clark City from October 19-20, 2019. The event, organized by the GoClark Sports and Events and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), welcomed participants from all ages with the hosting of the Kids’ Triathlon, fun run, and the major triathlon race.

2017 SEA Games Silver Medalist and this year’s top bet SEAG gold Rambo Chicano grabbed the elite category with a finish time of 1 hour 42 minutes and 5 seconds.

“Napakalaking tulong ng ganitong facility para sa aming mga atleta kasi ‘di na namin kailangan mag-overseas na training camp so ‘yun pa lang, makakatipid na kami kasi pamasahe pa lang ‘tsaka accommodation din malaki. Sa ganitong paraan, nakakatipid na. Nakaka-engganyo pa tayo ng kabataan [to turn to sports] dito sa Clark,” Chicano said.

Lauren Plaza was the top female elite, finishing in 2:13:44.

“We’re fortunate that a lot of athletes and spectators supported the event. Hopefully these sports facilities will eventually help promote wellness and healthy living for many Filipinos. Seeing the faces of the participants, they were so happy. It’s just the beginning of what’s more to come [here in New Clark City] in the next few years,” BCDA President and CEO Vince Dizon said.

Dizon added that the race was another opportunity to test the sports facilities before the 30th South East Asian (SEA) Games which will run from November 30 to December 11. Official Test games will start next week and will be participated by international athletes.

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Participants raced at the world-class Athletics Stadium, Aquatics Center, and the new access road from New Clark City to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway which will boost connectivity in Central Luzon.

There were also para-athletes who joined the race.

“This event proves that you don’t have to be an elite athlete to do this sport,” says GoClark Sports and Events Director Jumbo Tayag.

Nikko Huelgas, SEA Games Gold Medalist for triathlon, came in second at 1:44:19.

“[For] Filipino athletes, to do the SEA Games in front of the home crowd is one of our biggest opportunities to promote our sport, triathlon. To showcase that we are good in endurance sports and that it should be given so much funding,” Gold medalist triathlete Nikko Huelgas underscored. “Kasi ‘pag tinutulungan ‘yung Philippine sports mas naiinspire ‘yung buong bayan to engage in sports and nabibigyan ng opportunities ‘yung mga tao magkaroon ng magandang buhay. Sports gives you a better life.”

Both the Athletics Stadium and Aquatics Center meet the standards of international governing bodies, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA).

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