The riders from the Philippine Navy-Standard Insurance team are good enough to deliver the gold medal in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam in November.
“They’ve been training for two months. They will be very competitive,” Standard Insurance chairman Ernesto “Judes” Echauz told Tuesday’s online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum.
In the 2019 SEA Games, the Philippines as host won three gold medals on top of four silver and four bronzes in cycling, including BMX and mountain bike.
“We should be at par if not better than Thailand and Indonesia. We have a very big chance in the women’s because we’ve seen the caliber of our rivals. In the men’s, we will improve in the ITT and TTT,” said Echauz.
“And our riders are familiar with the terrain in Vietnam because they’ve competed there,” he said.
Echauz has supported cycling and duathlon through the years, forming a star-studded team made up of enlisted men in the Navy and employees of his giant insurance company.
For this year’s SEA Games from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2, he expects at least 10 of his riders to be part of the national team that will compete in eight events in road race and two events in duathlon.
The top riders under Echauz’s stable include Ronald Oranza, Jan Paul Morales, Emmanuel Comendador, George Oconer and Junrey Navarra (men’s), and Jermyn Prado, Kate Velasco, Mathilda Krogg and Marriane Grace Dacumos (women).
Echauz told the forum presented by San Miguel Corp., Go For Gold, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) that his riders are “fully-equipped.”
The president of the Philippine Sailing Association said the male riders have been training in Naic, Cavite for two months, while the female athletes are based in Subic.
“In Naic, we have a building with 14 rooms, with a swimming pool and a gym that is comparable to the top gyms here in Manila. The place is very conducive to training,” he said in the forum powered by Smart and with Upstream Media as official webcast partner.
Because there is no sailing in this year’s SEA Games, Echauz is pouring all his support to the cycling and duathlon teams.
There will be eight gold medals at stake in cycling – two each in the team time trial (TTT), individual time trial (ITT), criterium and massed start, where Echauz said his riders are expected to give Thailand and Indonesia a bid run for their money.