MANILA, Philippines—Filipino-Spanish Fernando Jose Casares made a vivid picture in his mind on how his race at the New Clark City will end.
What the Southeast Asian Games triathlon champion had envisioned didn’t veer away from reality on Sunday after prevailing in the men’s elite sprint of the National Duathlon Championship 2022 organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines.
“I’ve been visualizing this race for the past week, I even dreamt about it. But I didn’t expect a 100 percent that I’m going to win,” said Casares after topping the five-kilometer run, 20km bike, 2.5km run in a high-velocity finish.
John Leerams Chicano, the 2019 SEA Games triathlon gold medalist, actually provided a stiff competition before the 26-year-old Casares beat him at the line after clocking 58 minutes and three seconds.
Chicano checked in six seconds off Casares while Maynard Pecson claimed the bronze (58:13) before back-to-back SEA Games silver medalist Kim Remolino (58:29) and Raymund Torio (58:31) arrived to complete the national team’s top five finish.
With the race serving as pre-qualifier to the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia on May 5-17 next year, Casares is looking ahead for a double golden output in trying to defend his triathlon title and capture the duathlon event as well.
“My plan is to win not only one, but two gold medals in triathlon and duathlon. I feel confident especially after this race,” said Casares, whose best time in duathlon sprints is 55 minutes.
“My time can qualify for a gold medal. I still have a long way to go, but I will get there,” he added.
Casares, whose mother Marietta Ramos of Valenzuela City settled in Madrid before he was born, will be up against a strong opposition in reigning SEAG duathlon champion Pham Tien San of Vietnam and Rudi Febriade of Indonesia.
“I know there’s gonna be a few strong guys in Cambodia such as Pham, the guy who won in the last SEA Games. I need to beat him, I need to be faster in both runs,” said Casares.
Raven Faith Alcoseba ruled the women’s elite sprint in one hour, six minutes and 32 seconds, defeating Singapore’s Louisa Middleditch (1:07:10) and Merry Joy Trupa (1:08:50) in the event supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, HOKA, Filinvest New Clark City, Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines, Fissan and Fitbar as major sponsors.
Three-time SEA Games triathlon champion Kim Mangrobang, also the current champion in SEAG women’s duathlon, skipped the race where a total of 103 teams participated, including foreign contingents from Australia, Brazil, France, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and the United States..
“In Cambodia (SEA Games), all events are sprints that’s why our elite athletes focused on the sprint distance,” said TRAP president Tom Carrasco. “Out of the seven events, we’ll be aiming for at least four (gold medals).”
The Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh will host the SEA Games with two events each (individual men and women) in triathlon and duathlon and three events in aquathlon.
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