For elite triathlete Nikko Huelgas, bagging the men's triathlon gold medal at the 28th South East Asian Games came from more than just blood, sweat and tears. It was also a product of his relentless spirit, and deep-seated passion for the sport that he loves.
"The long hours of training...that’s the most difficult thing about this sport. It takes so much of your time. It takes so much of your energy – your emotions, your mental, and physical," he said.
Nikko trains six times a week - swimming for 20 kilometers, biking for 250 kilometers, and running for about 70 kilometers. All this rigorous training is geared towards becoming a world-class athlete and bringing pride to the Philippines.
"The feeling of being a national athlete and representing our country means everything. It’s the dream that I’ve always thought about since I was fourteen years old. And it feels like every single time I wake up, I’m living the dream and life is so amazing, and life is so good," he said.
Nikko's goal is to consistently progress as an athlete, and be able to learn something every single day. But more than that, he also wants to inspire other people to do everything with passion and make the most out of everything in life.
"On the last few meters when I was approaching the finish line during the SEA Games, I was already talking to God. I felt that it has now become my destiny and that there was a purpose for me to win this. He wanted to assure that if I’m going to win this, I’m going to bring something good to the people, in being able to do whatever you can with what you have. Everything made sense after finishing the race. I felt that, this is it. It’s finally over but this is only the beginning of something bigger to come, and I needed to do better things now,” he shared.