By Waylon Galvez
Southeast Asian (SEA) Games double gold medalist Nikko Huelgas captured the Asian Elite category in the Foremost Ironman 70.3 Thailand 2017 last Sunday in Phuket, Thailand.
It was the first title for the 26-year-old Huelgas in the tough 70.3 Ironman competition after he finished third in this same meet last year; he clocked 4:25:20 in the swim-bike-run event in winning the race.
Huelgas placed 30th overall out of 1,035 participants, while August Benedicto, another national team member, ranked 31st to claim second in the Asian Elite with a time of 4:26:20, followed by Thailand’s Sam Burns at 4:31:10.
“Hard work paid off!” said Huelgas via his IG account @nikkohuelgas. “From a bronze on my first 70.3 last year to getting a win on my 2nd time at this same race!”
“And after that, I could definitely say I’ve got so much work to do with lots of improvements. Definitely something to look forward to on long distance,” he added.
It has been a memorable year for Huelgas after he retained his triathlon title in the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He said that finishing first in the Asian Elite was his goal.
“I placed third a year back on my first 70.3 there and approaching this race, I really wanted to make sure I win gold this time. So I was really fulfilled to achieve this specific goal for the race,” said Huelgas in a text message to Bulletin yesterday.
Huelgas is set to compete in the 21km Cebu Milo Marathon next week, his final competition for 2017 before he takes a rest. He will resume training in January for the 2018 Asian Games in Palembang, Indonesia.
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