by Waylon Galvez
Triathlete Nikko Huelgas said it’s not yet too late to earn a berth in the national team, saying there are more events to compete and prove that he’s still a force to reckon with.
His bid for a possible SEA Games three-peat was jeopardized of late after failing to compete in the recent Subic tournament that saw his ranking drop to No. 5.
Although he was not aware that the Federation now has its own ranking system, he vowed to make up for the lost time and prove his worth.
Triathlon chief Tom Carrasco stressed earlier that only the top four in the rankings will earn berths in the biennial meet which will be held in the country later this year.
His mission now is to figure prominently in the ASTC Triathlon Asian Championships on June 20-23 in Gyeongju, South Korea – a qualifier for regional meet.
“I just need to focus properly and eliminate the distractions,” said Huelgas. “A huge line of races are ahead of me – not just the ASIAN Championships – so I just need to stick to the process.”
Huelgas said failed to compete in the Subic event last mmonth as he attended the International Athletes Forum at the IOC office in Lausanne, Switzerland. He also clarified that he informed the association about his trip to Europe.
“The invitation to the World Athletes Forum is given by the IOC, I already gave full notice to the federation months ahead of SUBIT. Then the hand injury came, it was impossible for me to show in SUBIT not fully fit,” he said.
“But it’s a long way ahead of SEA Games and my focus is to get myself back in time for Asian Championships,” said Huelgas. “I didn’t even know the Federation has rankings.”
“It makes us athletes more aware of where we stand and where do we go from there. Now the goal to get the swim and run speed back and things will get really better from there,” he said.
Huelgas said he understands the situation and holds no ill feelings towards the association, or even to Carrasco.
He said all he wants to do now is continue with his training to qualify for the SEA Games.
“Our federation has a no biased rule and does fair play. No advantages for anyone even if they’re previous gold medalist. That gives opportunity to every aspirant and gives a good kind of competition towards us athletes. It makes us work for what we desire and raises the standards,” he said.
“No one becomes complacent. That’s how we can produce more champions consistently,” added Huelgas.