by Waylon Galvez
Two-time SEAG champion Nikko Huelgas could be left out of the Philippine team to the biennial meet which the country is hosting late this year after failing to compete in one major tournament.
For missing the event, Huelgas has dropped to No. 5 in the rankings with John Chicano moving up to No. 1 followed by Andrew Remolino, Mark Hosanna and Filipino-Spanish Fer Casares.
Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) head Tom Carrasco said Huelgas did not see action in the recent Subic Bay NTT ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup in Subic said only the top four will comprise the PH team to the SEA games.
He reportedly failed to compete in the Subic tournament due to his commitment with the Athletes’ Commission of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) where he is the chairman.
Huelgas can’t be reached for comment at presstime.
Carrasco said that Huelgas still has a chance to get to the national team roster provided he beats the top four in another qualifying tournament – the ASTC Triathlon Asian Championships on June 20-23 in Gyeongju, South Korea.
“He has to beat them (the four athletes) in the Asian Championship. It’s another game, so let’s see what happens. With the condition of the four now, they’ll be tough to beat, but we’ll see,” said Carrasco.
The president of TRAP said he informed Huelgas of this situation regarding the qualifiers, but he expressed disappointment to the reigning two-time SEA Games gold medal winner after missing the SUBIT event due to his commitment with the Athletes’ Commission of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) where he is the chairman.
Aside from recovering from a hand injury, Huelgas recently attended the International Athletes Forum at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) office in Lausanne, Switzerland.
“I told him he has to qualify, he said he’ll try his best. But he missed SUBIT,” said Carrasoco.
“Yes, I’m disappointed because he made a choice, and I was very frank to him. That’s part of it, there’s trade off – you commit to something, then you missed training, and competitions.”
“I think he’s training now (for the Asian Championship). I’m disappointed that it turned out this way. I’m disappointed not because he did it, but because he has to do it to have his obligation as the chairman of the commission. You cannot do everything,” he added.
A total of six gold medals at stake that TRAP will organize in the SEA Games, including triathlon and duathlon, which will have three events each – men’s and women’s individual races, and the mixed race.
The events will be held December 1 to 5 in Subic.