Upset stomach fails to deter Torres’ gold bid

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    GOLDEN DEBUT: Monica Torres proudly displays the national flag after her victory.
    GOLDEN DEBUT: Monica Torres proudly displays the national flag after her victory.

    SUBIC. — With the way she routed the opposition in ruling the women’s duathlete event on Monday, it was hard to believe that comebacking Monica Torres was bothered before and during the race by an upset stomach.

    Hardly showing signs of discomfort, Torres, 35, breezed through the run-bike-run event in two hours, six minutes and 44 seconds for a golden debut in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the Subic Bay Boardwalk here.

    She was all by her lonesome from the 40-kilometer bike leg onwards, finishing nearly five minutes ahead of Thai silver medalist Sonsam Parseya (2:11.18) while Vietnamese bronze medalist Nugyen Thi Pruong Trinh (2:14.20) took the bronze.

    Unlike triathlon the previous day, the Philippines failed to score a sweep as Joey de Los Reyes settled for the silver in the men’s event in 1:53.04, finishing behind Indon Johan Jauhari who broke away in the last 600 meters to bag the gold in 1:52.51. Thailand’s Nattawut Srinata settled for third (1:53.04).

    “Hindi maganda ang kundisyon ko. Nagsuka ako before the race dahil masama ang tiyan ko,” said Torres, who now stays in Singapore with Polish husband Artur Piasecki. “Wala akong iniisip sa final run kung di matapos.”

    Out of the local duathlon scene for the past four years, Torres, who is now focused on longer races such as the Iron Man, said she was invited late last year by triathlon chief Tom Carrasco to compete for the national team in the Games.

    “I agreed to compete once again and I am very glad I did because this is my first Southeast Asian Games,” she said, smiling.

    Torres has another chance to add to her collection when she joins the mixed duathlon relay on Thursday.

    Delos Reyes rued the water break he took 600 meters before the finish line, paving the way for Jauhari to cut loose and secure the gold.

    “Talagang nauhaw ako at uminom ng tubig, at duon na lumayo ‘yung Indon,” said Delos Reyes, who had to scramble in the last 200 meters to overtake the Thai for the silver medal.

    The other Pinoy duathlete, Jarwyn Banatao, dropped out of contention after being hit by cramps in the second leg, the 40-km. bike race, and finished fifth in 1:55.19.