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Chicano, three others being readied for Paris 2024

John Chicano will be defending his SEA Games gold next year. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

John “Rambo’’ Chicano purposely skipped the series of qualifying races in the previous Tokyo Olympics and has been training his sights on making it to the Paris 2024 edition.

Triathlon chief Tom Carrasco revealed the ploy for Chicano to become the first Filipino triathlete in the Olympics, an advise given by renowned Australian coach Brett Sutton.

“Coach Brett told him to forget about Tokyo long before the Olympics. The real objective is to train Chicano to qualify for Paris,’’ said Carrasco during an interview with SportsEye aired over Radyo Pilipinas 2.

Chicano has been maintaining his clockings in the swim-bike-run event even at the height of the COVID-19 crisis and will begin to progress to peak form as the Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) comes in next year.

Vietnam will stage the 31st SEA Games on May 12 to 23, where Chicano, who is closely monitored by national coach Melvin Fausto in his stomping grounds in Clark and Subic, will defend his title before testing himself in a much bigger race in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, on Sept. 10 to 25.

“Of course we aim to retain our dominance [we’ve had] in the SEA Games since 2015. In the Asian Games, we managed to reach top 10 twice in Incheon (2014) and Palembang (2018),’’ said Carrasco.

“But we would like to level up this time. We are looking at a podium finish in the Asian Games and hopefully qualify for the Olympics,’’ added the former chair of the Philippine Olympic Committee.

Besides the 30-year-old Chicano, the national triathlon team has three more candidates for the Paris Summer Games—SEA Games women’s champion Kim Mangrobang, SEAG men’s silver medalist Andrew Kim Remolino and Filipino-Spanish Fernando Casares.

After the SEA Games in Hanoi and the Asian Games next year, they will kick off the quest for Paris in the qualifying races to gain the needed points.

“These are the triathletes that we will focus on. The qualifying races will begin 24 months before Paris,’’ said Carrasco.

Filipino-American Kimberly Kilgroe is likewise being considered as a possible Olympic qualifier, but the SEA Games women’s silver medalist seems inactive lately, according to Carrasco.

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