NOT even an intensity seven earthquake days before the race start could dampenthe spirits of the lean but mean Philippine delegation that is seeing action inthe 2011 Mekong River Multi-Sports Festival at Chiangsean district, ChiangraiProvince, Thailand.
Lea Coline Langit had the Philippine flag soaring high with agold medal finish in the Asian Aquathlon (1,500m swim, 5K run) event afterRobeno Javier took a bronze medal showing in the Asian duathlon (10k run, 40kbike,5k run) race. Both races were held Friday and the one-gold, one-bronze medalfinish surpassed the two bronzes delivered by duathletes August Benedicto andMonica Torres in 2010 edition.
It was also Langit’s second Asian Aquathlon title after baggingthe said crown in 2009 in Palembang Indonesia. The said event also saw herclaiming the bronze medal in triathlon.
The feat however did not come without a sweat as the team andthe rest of the competitors have harrowing experience Wednesday night when anintensity 7 earthquake rock the province.
“Around 9pm, we experienced a 7.0 earthquake and it shook us allup a little including the stuff in our rooms. There were aftershocks all nightso most people either slept out in the street or in the massage room on thefirst floor. An easier getaway than the 4th,” narrated by coach Dan Brown wholed the six athletes and three officials sent by Triathlon Associaition of thePhilippines (TRAP) and financed by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Despite the lack of sleep, Langit was still in her best formcome race day as she anchored her campaign on her strength in the swim to submitthe Asian best time at 36 minutes and 19 seconds.
Langit came out of the water second behind world’s 25th rankedtriathlete Rakda Vodickova of Czech Republic at 13 minutes and 59 seconds as sheenjoyed a minute and 13 seconds advantage over challenger Hoi Long of Macau. She relaxed in the run leg for a slow 22:20 time but the huge gapLangit had against Long was more than enough to cushion the late surge of herrival who finished fourth overall in the 2010 Asian Games triathlon inGuangzhou, China.
Long took the silver with 36:21 while Chinese Taipei’s Chang Luo-Yibaggged the bronze with 36:23 time. Vodickova who submitted the best splits at 13:39 and 20:41 for aleading 34:20, was not part of the Asian Championship but was awarded the goldmedal in the international division.
Meanwhile Robeno kept in stride with Japanese duathletes FukauraYuya and Kurihara Masaaki for a bronze medal finish in one hour, 59 minutes and34 seconds.
The performance is a fitting follow-up after Robeno also claimed thebronze medal in the Subic Asian Duathlon Open held last November.
Yuya, who won the gold medal in the Subic race, submitted 1:55:30time while Masaaki, who topped the male U-23 in the race last November, took thesilver with 1:56:03.
August Benedicto (2:01:36), Neil Catiil (2:02:05) and CarloPedregosa (2:05) settled for fourth, sixth and eighth spot respectively whileJeff Valdez wound up at eleventh place with 2:12:33.
“Conditions were great for the event with little wind and cloudcover to keep the heat down. This year’s field was very strong and the depthshowed up in the results. A good experience for the athletes,” added Brown.
The event has attracted participants from Japan, Philippines, Iran,Malaysia, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Uzbekistan, Macau, Syria, CzechRepublic, Germany and USA.PR