The Philippine mountain bike team is literally leaving no stone unturned as it gears up for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam in November.
Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez, chairman of the Mountain Bike Commission at PhilCycling, has built and maintained a track in Danao City that always brings out the best among local riders.
Rodriguez, a mountain bike fanatic, has seen countless mountain bike courses in Asia, and with all his resources has tried hard to replicate them for use of Filipino riders.
“This is where our national mountain bike team has trained ever since. Here in Danao, we have the most challenging track,” he told the online Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
“In the SEA Games, never kami na-zero (medals). And in Hanoi, we will try to match our haul of two golds, two silver and two bronze medals in 2019,” he said, adding that the track they built in Danao offers the toughest uphill and the most technical downhill portions.
“Halos walang recovery. I want our riders to get used to the most challenging track,” he said.
The National Mountain Bike Trials (cross-country and downhill) will be held in Danao on June 11 to 13, and according to Rodriguez, the event will help them determine the composition of the SEA Games team.
“Once selected, they resume their full training for the SEA Games in Danao in July or August, and be in peak form for the SEA Games,” he told the forum presented by San Miguel Corporation, MILO, Amelie Hotel Manila, Braska Restaurant, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
Head coach Eboy Quiñones, a gold medalist in the 2003 SEA Games, is surprised with the heavy turnout of elite riders seeking slots to the men’s and women’s cross-country, men’s and women’s downhill and team relay events for the SEA Games.
“We have as many as 40 riders, including youth riders, who came in from Bulacan, Cavite, Las Piñas, La Union and Bicol. Nagulat talaga kami sa turnout,” said Quiñones, confident that the locals will once again deliver in Hanoi.
Rodriguez said in the Forum powered by Smart and Upstream Media as official webcast partner, that it’s the first time they will be able to field a full team in the women’s side in the SEA Games with fearless riders like Arianna Dormitorio, Avegail Rombaon, Nicole Quiñones, Pamela Ruiz, Melissa Jaroda and Shagne Yaoyao, who has won 14 races in Cebu since January this year.
Rodriguez is also looking at forming a farm team for junior riders to nurture for future international competitions.
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