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26 June 2012

Aussies click in Subic triathlon

Australians David Dellow and Belinda Granger showed they’re not just long-course race specialists as they topped the Olympic-distance Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon Series Philippines in contrasting styles at the tough course here at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

The 33-year-old Dellow needed one burst of speed in the final three kilometers to overtake former three-time Olympian Csaba Kottur of Hungary and another Aussie Ben Allen to wrest his first victory in this 1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run in over a decade.

“It’s been a while since I last did short course races, maybe 10 years because I’ve been focusing my energy on doing long-course races,” said Dellow, whose long list of victories included Ironman Champion Cairns 2012.

“It’s two different sports really but I’m glad I won here, it’s unforgettable experience competing over here,” he added.

Dellow reached the finish line in two hours, three minutes, three seconds. Kuttor, who competed in the triathlon in Athens, Sydney and Beijing Olympics, was second in 2:03.27 while Allen was third in 2:04.43.

Granger, who topped the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 in Camsur last year, ruled the women’s pro side in 2:22.35, or a whopping five minutes ahead of second placer Ali Fitch of Canada (2:27.47).

“It’s always special for me competing here in the Philippines and winning makes it more special,” said the 41-year-old Granger, whose other notable triumphs were the 2012 Geelong Long Course and 2011 Ironman 70.3 Japan.

Charming Jacqui Slack, the women’s division leader of the European Xterra Off-Road Triathlon series who admits to be in a serious relationship with Allen, bucked a couple of flat tires by emerging with the fastest sprint run. She finished third in 2:52.33.

The day, however, belonged to a 20-year-old Olongapo City native and a relay team consisting of a one-legged swimmer, one-foot cyclist and one-armed runner.

John Leerams Chicano, representing local-based Tri-Monkey team, stole the thunder from the favorites by emerging the best Filipino finisher in 2:11.35, that is also good for fifth overall behind Dellow, Kuttor, Allen and Matthieu O’Halloran, who wound up fourth in 2:05.23.

“I’m not really surprised to win because I’ve been training hard for this race,” said Chicano, a member of the national youth team, in Filipino. “I’m just happy that I beat some of the favorites, I will never forget this.”

Among the victims of Chicano were top Filipino triathletes Neil Catiil of LBC Solutions (2:16.04) and Arland Macasieb (2:19.46).



Representing coach Vince Garcia’s Wetshop Para-Tri Team, tanker Arnel Aba, who swam with just a left leg, cyclist Godfrey Taberna, who rode despite having a right club foot, and runner Isidro Vildosola came through with a ride to remember, finishing second among 23 teams in the team relay.

The only other team to beat Aba, Taberna and Vildosola was Wetshop’s other team headed by three-time Tour champion Santy Barnachea.

“We just want to prove that disability is not a hindrance if you will just believe in yourself,” said the 26-year-old Alba, who has already collected five gold medals in the Southeast Asian Para-Games.

Alaska’s TBB team, which consisted of four pros and six locals, also made heads turn and was spearheaded by 16-year-old Banjo Norte who wound up 12th overall in 2:26.54.

Monica Torres, who is busy preaching the sport online, won the local female elite section in 2:36.33, barely edging former Phl No. 1 LC Langit, who came in second in 2:36.33 despite getting his rear tire busted at the start of the bike part of the event.

The event is being presented by Century Tuna and sponsored by Alaska Milk, Gatorade, David’s Salon, 2XU, Timex, Intercare, Oakley, SBMA, with The Philippine STAR and Multisport Magazine as media partners.

For updates, you may visit its website at www.5i50philippines.com.

5i50 Notes: A lot of celebrities both from showbiz and politics joined the race, including Senator Pia Cayetano, Kuya Kim Atienza, Erwan Heussaff, Drew Arellano, Ernie Lopez and organizer Fred Uytengsu ... Aussie Ben Allen and Brit Jacqui Slack built their love affair in the triathlon circuit and are going steady for a year now. Coincidentally, they both finished third in the pro section ... Mattieu O’Halloran has given up his chance to play for Canada to represent the country but his plan to get naturalized didn’t push through. He did it for love, particularly Joyette Jopson, whom he has been with for almost four years now. (Joey Villar, Philippine Star)

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