BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/21 April) — An unheralded triathlete from Surigao City pulled out a come-from-behind victory to dethrone the defending champion of the Mazaua Triathlon competition in Butuan City last Sunday.
Jayjay “Fernando Poe” Baldonado beat last year’s champion, Michael Cultura of Butuan and Cabadbaran City’s strongest bet Marlou Jahalla in the individual category.
Baldonado was six minutes behind in the one-kilometer swim leg against swimmer cum runner Cultura.
But Baldonado, a strong biker, made up for lost time by ruling the 40-kilometer bike course.
The two dueled in the 7.5-kilometer run fashion which Cultura led for at least 100 meters on the first four kilometers.
The 26-year-old triathlete from Surigao showed his prowess in the last three kilometers where he neck and neck with Cultura.
As they ran the last two kilometers, Baldonado thought he could not beat the defending champion saying Cultura is a strong runner.
“I observed him falling out in the last two kilometers. Maybe he was running out of strength so I capitalized it by way of sprint run,” Baldonado stressed.
The Surigaonon clocked 1:53 while Cultura crossed the finish line a minute later.
“I’m an underdog but I don’t want to go back to my hometown without the crown,” Baldonado added.
Marlou Jahalla, also a former champion and a consistent podium finisher in the previous events settled for third place.
The Mazaua Mini Triathlon event was organized by Infinite Sports Events, Butuan All Terrain Riders’ Society and Butuan Mountain Bikers Inc. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)