Benedicto regains Filipino elite title

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Sunday, August 3, 2014


IT was August’s day. Subic-based triathlete August Benedicto was unfazed by the heat and made sure that the men’s Filipino elite title are back on his hands in the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Lapu-Lapu City.

It was more special as the win came a day after his birthday. He won it in 2012 but lost it to Banjo Norte last year.

“It was my birthday yesterday (Saturday), so I’m really happy,” Benedicto said in Tagalog.

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The Subic-based Benedicto encountered a mechanical problem on his bike last year and placed second to Norte. He finally got the chance at redemption when he won in 4 hours 34 minutes and 55 seconds.

“Habang umiinit, habang tumatagal lalo akong lumalakas,” said Benedicto.

Benedicto was fifth to out of the swim in 32:30, while Norte was second 30.

Benedicto closed the gap after the bike with a time of 2:29:34, while Norte was a minute behind on the bike. However, Benedicto finished it off in the run and clocked in at 1:29:46 to solidify a convincing win. Norte crossed the finish line second in 4:34:55, while Cebuano John Philip Dueñas finished third in 4:41:59.

“I was happy with my improvement on the bike, but my run was not as fast as last year.
said Dueñas, who was the bronze medalist in the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Philippines.

“I have now improved on my bike. Next year, I’m targeting to balance the improvements in all three disciplines,” he added.

After the top Filipino elites crossed the finish line and were ready for the awarding. The pecking order was changed as organizers released the official result declaring Norte as having been disqualified (DQ).

According to the organizers, Norte made an illegal drafting and did not go to the penalty tent to take the four-minute penalty.

With the, Dueñas went on to take home the second place honor but that also saddened the Cebuano.

“Sayang kaayo si (Norte) ga effort pud baya siya sa months nga practice. As an athlete makasabot pud ta niya kay moagi pud raba ta’g training,” Dueñas told Sun.Star Cebu.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to get Norte’s side but he was unavailable at press time.

Kristiane Lim, also a Cebuano, crossed the finish line in 4:52:58 to finish next to Dueñas, and was grasping for breath but still managed to take third place in the podium.

Benjamin Rana Jr.(4:53:29) and Christopher Eyao (5:02:15) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

In the women’s side, Joyette Jopson of Laguna (5:28:31) won despite finishing beyond the top five in the swim segment. She caught up with them in the final two legs.

Maria Hodges (5:29:26) came second, Jenny Rose Guerrero (5:40:40) was third, Cebuana Lorhiz Echavez-Lopez (5:51:14) finished fourth, and Cianyl Gonazales (5:58:32) got the fifth spot.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 04, 2014.

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