The Philippines has been raking in the gold medals at the SEA Games 2019, and it’s no doubt that the girl power is stronger than ever. Kim Mangrobang got the ball rolling when she took home the gold medal on Day 1 at the women’s triathlon. Yesterday, weightlifting phenom Hidilyn Diaz struck gold; while Lea Denise Belgira also finished first in downhill mountain biking. Gilas Pilipinas Women also topped the 3x3 competition in a sweet victory against Thailand.
To add to the gold rush, internationally renowned triathlete Monica Torres bagged another gold medal for the Philippines at the women’s duathlon held in Subic, Zambales. For those who aren’t aware of her reputation, you should know that the 35-year-old athlete is "Asia’s duathlon queen" given her string of first-place victories year after year. Get to know more about her here:
1. She is the best duathlete in Asia.
According to The Inquirer, Monica Torres is “the reigning duathlon women’s titleholder in the continent and the fastest Filipina in the Cobra Ironman 70.3 for six years in a row.”
She is also the top finisher of the Asian elite categories of the Powerman Asia Duathlon Championship for three years in a row, according to Rappler. The Ironman triathlon and the Powerman duathlon are the most anticipated competitions in the Philippines.
2. She exhibits stellar sportsmanship.
When Monica finished the race at 2:08:44, Thailand's Pareeya Sonsem trailed behind her. Moments after Pareeya crossed the finish line and bagged the silver medal, she stumbled on the ground, and Monica immediately helped her up without missing a beat.
3. She’s won over 40 gold medals.
Based on her personal blog, Monica Races the World, through which she would share her journey as a professional athlete (the last post was in 2017), Monica has over 40 gold medals and counting. That doesn’t even include her second place, third place, and fourth place prizes—all very difficult feats to achieve.
4. She is a UP graduate.
Monica graduated from the University of the Philippines with a degree in Sports Science. During her college years, she joined the dragon boat team whose members would ride their bikes to school. This influenced her to start biking as well; and so, she borrowed her father’s bike and her interest in cycling cultivated from there.
5. She dabbled in various sports.
According to BH Fitness, Monica started practicing sports at a very young age. She tried her hand at ballet, volleyball, karate, and tennis before diving into triathlons.
6. Her prom date was Atom Araullo.
Right in the tail-end of her blog’s ‘About’ section, Monica shared a very interesting tidbit: Atom Araullo took her to prom. In fact, he even introduced her to the triathlons, which probably started her professional journey.
7. She’s been racing since 2007.
Monica joined her first triathlon in 2007 and later on signed up for “every duathlon and triathlon in the greater Luzon area.” According to BH Fitness, she rose to fame in 2010 when she finished fourth in the ITU World Duathlon and became the highest-ranked duathlete in the Philippines.
8. She is “the only Filipina racing professionally for non-drafting triathlons around the world.”
Despite her rise in popularity and her top-rank status, Monica remains humble and attributes her success to those around her: coaches, sponsors, the media, the triathlon community, friends, and of course, her family.
9. She is persevering.
At yesterday’s race, it wasn’t all smooth-sailing for Monica, who suffered a stomachache the morning of the competition. Despite the discomfort, she pressed on and conquered the kilometers. She shared to Spin.ph that the hardships were worth it because it was “for team Philippines.”
10. She’s got great style.
Based on her Instagram profile, Monica loves to travel in her spare time and eats good food while she’s at it (it seems like she likes coffee a lot, too). Accounts of her travels feature her in bold OOTDs such as printed pants, oversized tees, and even gingham coords. Even when she trains, she likes to flex her style by sporting colorful activewear.