From janitor to SEA Games medalist: Chicano wins first gold for PH at triathlon event

MANILA, Philippines – John “Rambo” Chicano makes history at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA) 2019 as he wins the first gold medal for the Philippines, the host country, as he crossed the finish line ahead of all competitors at the men's triathlon event held in Subic, Zambales on Sunday, December 1.

But Chicano isn’t the only one who brought honor to the country in the event, because another Filipino in the person of Kim Remolino was following closely behind and won the silver medal at the same event. Chicano and Remolino both made history for winning the country’s first gold and silver medals in the 30th edition of the SEA Games.

PH bags first gold medal in men’s triathlon, silver also from Philippines
Photo credit: Zake Alonso / GMA News

From janitor to gold medalist

Chicano would also make waves on social media after netizens learned that he started out as a janitor at his coach’s bike shop. At the time, Chicano was desperate for a job to support his young family. He was just 18 years old when he began to work as janitor at bike shop owned by Melvin Fausto.

“Noong nabuntis ko kasi 'yong asawa ko noon, wala akong income so hinahanapan niya ako ng trabaho. Tapos 'yong dad ko talagang pinush niya ako sa bike shop noong coach, so naging janitor ako doon then helped hanggang naging bike mechanic,” Chicano shared.

PH bags first gold medal in men’s triathlon, silver also from Philippines
Photo credit: News5 Features / Facebook

He believes that his wife’s untimely pregnancy was a blessing in disguise. If not for this, he wouldn’t have taken a job as janitor at Fausto’s shop – and would most likely not be the athlete he is today!

“May nakita ako sa kaniyang alam mo 'yong very teachable siya. So ako dahil noong time na 'yon, noong minementor ng mga Australian coaches isa sa project namin 'yong mga under-privileged, nabigyan namin sila ng chance to come into the sport ng triathlon,” Coach Fausto explained.

From janitor, Chicano would rise in the sport and would become one of the strongest contenders for the gold medal in the SEA Games Men's Triathlon Event, being the SEA Games 2017 triathlon silver medalist. This time, he won!

“Sa mga kagaya ko, 'wag nilang isipin na balakid sa pangarap nila at mas maganda na gawin nilang motivation 'yong pangarap nila sa buhay nila,” Chicano said.

— Joy Adalia, The Summit Express

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