Bryce Chong defends Singapore International Triathlon title as National Service Looms

Bryce Chong, who was the champion at last year’s Singapore International Triathlon, emerged victorious again this year.

This year’s finale race for the National Triathlon Championships (NTC) had a standard distance event on top of last year’s sprint distance race, with Metasprint Triathlon and Trifactor Sprint Triathlon now part of the series. But just like last year, all NTC athletes started together.

Right from the horn, Chong lashed out a pace only matched by Nicholas Rachmadi who was competing in the sprint distance race. By the time the swim leg was over, he had a two minutes lead over his chase pack formed by Zacharias Low, Derek Tan, Lee Wun Jun, and 2015 SEA Games bronze medallist Wille Loo.

On the bike, Chong focused on his own race and stretched his lead by another minute. Behind him, a tactical battle between the chase pack unfolded. Eventually, the more experienced duo of Loo and Low pulled away and entered T2 together.

Chong, who had already spent over an hour in the lead by himself, worked on keeping a solid form to stay focused throughout the 10km run. “I was paying attention to the little things, like my hand positioning,” he shared after the race.

Meanwhile, Loo and Low’s tactical battle continued on the run. For most parts of the run, Loo kept a distance of 15-25m between himself and Low. The tactic worked as Low simply could not close the gap and they finished seven seconds apart.

“Hooyah, ”Low exclaimed as he crossed the line in third place.

The NDU regular had just graduated from his combat diver course a week ago and barely managed to squeeze in brief training for the weekend race, as he prepares for his special forces qualification course.

Chong, who is turning 21 this year, will soon get his taste of National Service. He is expected to enlist in January.

It was déjà vu, as Cedric Chua, this year’s Trifactor Champion, welcomed his compatriots at the finish line. He had opted not to race this time due to uncertainty over his National Service commitments, having enlisted a month ago. Low enlisted shortly after winning last year’s Trifactor as well.

Loo, who had a rough day overcoming illnesses and a bee sting, shared his thoughts with the boys “After you get used to things during BMT, you’ll be alright.”

Having won back to back national titles, Chong intends to continue racing during and after his national service. “Yes, yes of course,” was his reply when asked about it.

His next goal? “SEA Games.”

Singapore International Triathlon 18

Phoebe Kee was the only female in the standard distance race. (Jing Zhi Chua)

In the other NTC races, Phoebe Kee finished first after a no-show on race day by last year’s winner Ethel Lin. Rachmadi never looked back after establishing a three-minute gap over Casey Lim on the swim in the men’s sprint race, and both Herlene Yu and Chang Shu Wen marked successful returns from injury in the women’s to finish 1-2.

Full result can be found here.