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Cambodia poses the biggest threat to the Philippines’ campaign in the triathlon and duathlon events of the Cambodia Southeast Asian Games.
The host team has naturalized two French standouts in its bid to pull the rug from under the Filipinos, who are led by defending triathlon champions Kim Mangrobang and Fernando Casares.
Margot Garabedian, who competed for France in the World Junior Championships in 2014, will see action in the women’s triathlon and aquathlon while Mickael Chaumond will race in the men’s duathlon.
Mangrobang, 31, is seeking a fourth straight women’s crown while Casares, a Fil-Spanish, is bidding keep the men’s crown for the Philippines, which has dominated the sport since the 15th edition of the biennial games in Singapore.
Team Philippines brought home three golds, one silver and a bronze in the Vietnam SEA Games last year.
“We are hoping to repeat our dominance, but we expect stiffer competition from all, especially Singapore who have very good swimmers (for aquathlon),’’ said Triathlon Association of the Philippines president Tom Carrasco.
Aside from men’s and women’s triathlon, the Filipinos will also try their luck in men’s and women’s duathlon apart from aquathlon where three gold medals are at stake in the men’s, women’s and mixed team relay events.
Raven Alcoseba and Heart Quiambao will represent the Philippines in the women’s aquathlon on May 6 at the seaside town of Kep, a drive of more than three hours from the Games’ hub here, while Kim Remolino and Josh Ramos are competing in the men’s aquathlon.
“The dynamics is different though as all events are sprint distances or half of the standard distances played in previous SEA Games,’’ said Carrasco.
The aquathlon sprint is a 500-meter swim and 2.5km run race, duathlon a 5km run, 20km bike and 2.5km run event and triathlon covers 750m of swimming, 20km of biking and 5km of running.
“I’m still confident, we’re targeting three (gold) medals, four if we are lucky,’’ said Carrasco.
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