Manila, Philippines – Fourteen-year Jimuel Patilan finally hit pay dirt even as Allen Santiago and Magali Bernasconi Echauz continued to shine as they emerged winners in Sunday’s 2012 Century Tuna 1st Leg National Age Group Triathlon Series at Dungaree Beach in Subic Bay Freeport.
A native of Olongapo City and a product of Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) youth development program under coach Melvin Fausto, Patilan negotiated the mini-sprint race (350m swim, 16k bike and 2.5k run) in 42 minutes and 06 seconds to win the race handily over rivals Mark Pile and Jose Nobles in the 13-15 boys division.
This is the first ever victory by Patilan in five triathlon races he has competed in since joining the endurance sport last May since he is a perennial second placer to Santiago.
The 16-year old high student from Letran, Santiago moved up to the sprint distance (750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run) and competing in longer race hardly mattered as he dominated veteran Marc Alexander Altura with a fast 1:09:14 time.
The initial victory by Santiago in the said distance augurs well with him being a new national pool member of Traiathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) which organized the one day race with Century Tuna backing the event with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SMBA) throwing their support.
Fifteen year old Echauz easily ruled the 13-15 girls mini-sprint with 48:15 to maintain her lofty position as a potential member to the national pool.
A total of 248 triathletes saw action in the opening leg of the six-series NAGT with competitions also held in the standard distance as well as in the SuperTriKids aquathlon.
“I’m happy that the NAGT is again off the ground since this is an important part in our year-long program. We are committed to continue holding the series with our supporters while financial assistance given to us by the Philippine Sports Commission will be channeled to our national athletes with a number of them products of the NAGT,” said TRAP president Tom Carrasco Jr.
Winning line honors in the standard distance (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) in the event also supported by Gatorade, Philippine Sports Commission, Arena, Standard Insurance and Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines Inc were Camsur triathlete Franklin Penaloza (2:19:17) and British expat Carly Relf (2:42:34) to also claim the gold medals in the male and female 35 to 39 age category.