NATIONAL team mainstays Lea Denise Belgira and Eleazar Barba, Jr. showed their readiness to compete in next year’s Hanoi Southeast Asian (SEA) Games as they topped their respective categories in the PhilCycling Mountain Bike National Trials for Downhill in Danao City, Cebu yesterday.
Ms. Belgira, out to claim another SEA Games gold medal after topping the 2019 edition in Tagaytay, ruled the women’s elite division in a minute and 29.164 seconds in a race done at the 850-meter, International Cycling Union (ICU)-grade course in Barangay Sandayong Sur.
The Guimaras native bested a field that included Naomi Gardoce and Jade Nicole Balete, who clocked 1:31.187 and 1:58.453 to settle for the silver and bronze medals, respectively, in the meet organized by PhilCycling.
Mr. Barba, a 2019 SEA Games silver medalist, reigned supreme on the men’s side in 1:13.593 ahead of Emmanuel Torregoza Cabalquinto, who clocked in at 1:15.175 for the silver, and 2019 SEA Games golden boy Jerich Farr, who wound up with the bronze in 1:15.671.
The 1-2-3 finishers in the other categories were Gwen Hanah Barba, Samantha Rem Yuson and Alexa Ysabel Barba in Women 16-below; Khim Catalbas, Renselle Abada and Ray Gabriel Arat in Men 16-below; Mark Hector Medenilla, Adrian Nino Villanueva and Wendell Barna in Men Master A; and Frederick Farr, Jonathan Verga and Leopoldo Ocampo in Men Master B.
The PhilCycling, headed by Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Abraham Tolentino, also organized an MTB cross-country Olympic event in Danao in June and a road race in Clark in July as part of the national team selection process for the Hanoi Games. — Joey Villar