The 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held in the Philippines has officially launched, and in the midst of the mishaps that have happened before the opening, there is a silver lining: the Philippine teams have led a stellar performance with 25 gold medals in its first two days!
While all the athletes’ stories have been nothing short of motivational, there is one gold medalist whose background stands out from the crowd. Meet John Chicano, the janitor-turned-triathlete who won the country’s first gold medal when the SEA Games opened last Saturday, November 30.
This is Chicano’s second time competing in the Southeast Asian Games. The first time was in 2017, when he served as backup for Nikko Huelgas who was defending his 2015 title, eventually landing a silver medal. This year, he won his much-coveted gold medal as he crossed the finish line in Subic Bay Boardwalk, which was near his former place of work where he applied as a janitor.
According to an Inquirer Sports report, Chicano became a father in 2007 so he was forced to apply to a bike shop as a janitor and helper, owned by Melvyn Fausto, the national team’s triathlon coach. Initially trained to become a bike mechanic, Fausto learned of Chicano’s cycling experience and decided to train him to become a triathlete in just three months. After one year, Chicano competed and won in the Subic International Triathlon, and eventually became part of the national team in 2009.
What an inspiring journey!