CEBU–Wacky Baniqued pulled off another down-to-the-wire triumph while Tara Borlain proved as dominant as ever as they capped their triumphant stints in the Alaska Iron-Kids Philippines at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Re-sort and Spa here yesterday.
Baniqued hung tough in the face of Joseff Quirino’s strong finishing kick in the run stage, claiming the boys’ 13-14 age crown in his final year via a photo finish. They submitted identical times of 38:50 but the Baniqued took the plum, his fourth straight after also ruling the same age category last year and besting the 11-12 field in 2014 and 2015.
“Never underestimate your competitors and you just train because if you stop training, they will catch up,” said Baniqued, a Grade 9 student of Colegio San Agustin in Biñan, who prevailed in four of six tries in IronKids Cebu of the annual event sponsored by Alaska Milk and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc.
Baniqued took control early in the swim stage, sustained his pace in the bike leg but slowed down a bit in the run part, enabling Quirino to catch up and turn it to a thrilling finish.
Meanwhile, Borlain ruled the girls’ premier age group side in 41:34, nearly four minutes clear of Nicole Del Rosario in a fitting ending to a success-ful campaign in the annual event staged to inspire the youth to lead active, healthy lifestyles while helping them develop the values of discipline and hard work.
The future triathlon star from Pasig stamped her class in the swim leg, stayed way out in front in the bike race before pulling away in her pet run stage.
It was Borlain’s third straight title here and fourth overall after topping the 9-10, (2012) 11-12 (2015) and 13-14 (2016) age groups.
She surrendered the crown to elder sister Sam, who won in 2014 in the 11-12 category.
“Ever since I started, the most important thing I learned is that family is the key. Winning is just in your mind and in your heart and if you give your best, you’re a champion. I believe that family will be the one to push you for that to happen and you’ll go further with your family,” said Tara, one of the three famed Borlain sisters in the young triathlon group.
Younger sister Chezka placed third in the 9-10 age group while 15-year-old Sam saw action in the IronGirl 5k fun run last Friday.
Adrian Dionisio came eight seconds late to end up third in the boys division while Marielle Estreba logged 45:46 to rank third in the girls’ premier race.