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THE PHILIPPINES continued to produce more world champions as Sandi Abahan and Andrico Mahilum emerged from the Himalayas as the Altitude OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) World Championships Mount Everest winners.
The pair beat the best the world can offer in the sport as they topped the female and male sections of the race that started on Nov. 8 and ended recently after they came to the peak of the tallest mountain on Earth scaling an ultra high altitude of 18,000-plus feet or 5,500-plus meters.
It was a monumental performance for both Ms. Abahan, an Igorota and Cordilleran elite trail runner, and Mr. Mahilum, an Army sergeant and vertical racer, as they added to an appreciative nation already replete with world beaters.
The pair joined an elite list of Filipino sports icons like Tokyo Olympics weightlifting gold winner Hidilyn Diaz-Naranjo, world champion gymnast Carlos Yulo, World Games karate gold medalist Junna Tsukii and world jiu-jitsu queens Meggie Ochoa and Kimberly Anne Custodio.
“Mr. Mahilum and Ms. Abahan are both worthy of bringing home the championship trophies. They trained hard. They were focused. They have been tried and tested by obstacles,” Pilipinas Obstacle Sports Federation president Atty. Al Agra yesterday told The STAR.
“All glory belongs to them. The federation is here for them, to make their lives better through sports,” he added.
For Ms. Abahan, whose mom is from Mountain Province and dad from Ifugao but grew up in Baguio, it came a month after she topped the Spartan Pro for 30-39 years old of the 50k Borneo Trail Classic in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Interestingly, Ms. Abahan was already famous as one of the five Filipinos recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records during World’s Highest OCR and Altitude OCR on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania last Sept. 19.
That was apart from the women’s 5km gold medal she snared in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games the country hosted at Filinvest, Muntinlupa.
And add this most recent feat as the newest feather in her cap. — Joey Villar