by JONAS TERRADO
TAGAYTAY CITY – Jermyn Prado gave the Philippines its third gold medal in cycling after topping the women’s individual time trial of the 30th Southeast Asian Games held Thursday morning here.
Prado completed the 23.1-kilometer distance that began at Barangay Aga in Nasugbu and ended in front of the Praying Hands Monument and the Sky Ranch amusement park at 44 minutes and 44.742 seconds to claim gold in her SEAG debut.
Singapore’s Yiwei Luo finished second at 44:48.518 while Thailand’s Phetdarin Somrat placed third at 44:58.152.
“Inall-out ko na po lahat kasi naniniwala po ako na walang bukas,” said Prado, a 26-year-old enlisted Navy personnel who once worked as welder at the Pagbilao Power Plant in her home province of Quezon.
“Binigay ko na po yung best ko kasi sabi ng coach ko di na baleng mamatay, wag lang mapahiya sa sariling bansa,” she added.
She won despite almost being barred from competing after race officials had to deliberate whether Prado and 2015 Singapore Games gold medalist Marella Salamat can use their bikes which were specialized for triathlon.
The team mulled at the possibility of using a road bike minus the aerobars but it was later decided that both Prado and Salamat can proceed with the use of their bicycles.
“Their bikes were almost non-regulation,” said Competition Manager Jun Lomibao. “But later, the panel of commissaires agreed to allow the riders to use the bikes provided they remove at least two contraptions.
“According to the panel of commissaires, it is an advantage because it will create some aero-dynamic effects sa bikes. So mabilis lang naman siyang tinanggal, yung just below the handle bars and under the frame,” Lomibao later said.
The decision was answered prayer for Prado, who after sobbing at the starting line was having tears of joy near the Praying Hands monument as she proudly wore her gold medal.
“Medyo may mga aberya po dahil muntik na po kaming di pagamitin ng bike. Pero nagawan naman po ng paraan,” she said.
Salamat was seventh in the 11-rider field at 45:59.275 but was later seen celebrating Prado’s golden moment.