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(Photo courtesy of TOPS)

MANILA -- Triathlon champion Maria Claire Adorna believes the Philippines’ campaign in the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila on Nov. 30-Dec. 11 will be a “resounding success.”

In triathlon where she is again scheduled to compete, Adorna is confident the triathlon team will again do well in the prestigious biennial competition.

“Tiwala po ako sa kakayahan ng ating triathlon team, sa pangunguna ni (I trust the capability of our triathlon team led by) Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) president Tom Carrasco,” said Adorna during the recent “Usapang Sports” forum presented by the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila.

“Kayang-kayang natin manalo, lalo na dito sa atin gagawin ang (We have strong chance to win especially because we will host) SEA Games,” added the 26-year-old Adorna, who captured the gold medal in the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore and silver medal in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.

Adorna’s bold prediction made during the weekly session sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, National Press Club, Pagcor, Community Basketball Association, and HG Guyabano Tea Leaf Drinks mirrors an earlier assessment of Carrasco that the Filipinos are capable of winning four to six gold medals in the coming SEA Games.

Asked about the Filipinos’ biggest rivals in the swim-bike-run competition, Adorna pointed to Malaysia and Singapore.

She is scheduled to compete in the World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar starting Oct. 11 and the Asian Cup in Jordan also next month.

A University of the Philippines graduate, Adorna stressed that local triathletes still need to compete in as many Asian-level tournaments as possible to gain the much-needed ranking points that could serve as their tickets to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“Through TOPS, I am calling for the prayers and support of our countrymen, not only for our triathlon team but for the whole Team Pilipinas. Suportahan n’yo po kaming lahat sa SEA Games,” she said.

Actually, Filipinos have a long history of success in triathlon events in the SEA Games.

In 2015, Nikko Huelgas and Adorna swept the gold medals in the individual events, with Kim Mangrobang adding silver in the women’s side.

Two years later, Huelgas and Mangrobang brought home the golds, with John Chicano and Adorna getting the silvers. (PR)