Philippines duathlon race for Iloilo River under way (Philippine Star)

ILOILO CITY, Philippines Southeast Asian Games titlists Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna join some 60 other elite, sprint, relay, and age group bets in answering the starting gun for today’s Philippine National Duathlon Trials-“Race for the Iloilo River” here.

The one-day event is originally a triathlon race but according to Tom Carrasco, president of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines, they decided to make it a run-bike-run competition instead due to the prevailing weather condition.

Despite the change, high-level competition is expected, especially with Singapore SEAG champs Huelgas and Adorna leading the field.

Kim Mangrobang, who placed second to Adorna in the Lion City, and Joan Saim, sixth placer in the event Huelgas ruled, also set out for strong finishes while junior athletes, especially coming from the Visayas, go all out to prove their mettle for a shot at slots in the Phl developmental pool.

A total of P40,000 is up for grabs in the competition featuring races in elite, sprint, relay and age groups.

A joint project of the Office of the Senate President, the Philippine Sports Commission and the local government of Iloilo City, the race is being held as part of the advocacy of improving and protecting the Iloilo River.

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“Through this race, we want to strengthen awareness and participation of the public in the ongoing Iloilo River Clean-up Project,” said Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.

Yesterday, the athletes took time off their practice sessions and braved the rains to take part in the fingerling planting activity along the Iloilo River.

The race starts at 6 a.m. at Ungka Intersection in Barangay Ungka and finishes at the Iloilo River Esplanade.

Senate President Franklin Drilon, Mayor Mabilog, PSC chairman Richie Garcia and Carrasco are expected to witness the race.