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Onifa conquers Siksorogo Lawu trail

MANILA, Philippines — John Ray Onifa emerged Asia Trail Master Champion for 2023 with a victory at the Siksorogo Lawu Trail in Indonesia over the weekend.

Another national team member Angelie Cabalo claimed the third-place honors among the female participants, with Nepal’s Rashila Tamang and Belgium’s Vanja Cnops securing the top two spots.

On the men’s side, Onifa led the pack, followed by Alessandro Sherpa from Italy and Kristian Joergensen from Denmark.

The top two, along with seven other team members – Yoyong Sacayle, Alvino Versola III, Sean Aying, Mary Joy Sumanda, Cecille Wael, Irish Glorioso, and Roan Biguasen – finished strong to bag the Overall Team Championship based on their outstanding performances.

The Asia Trail Master (ATM) series spans across Asia, allowing trail runners to accumulate points based on their performance in five events throughout the year. The top five runners from each country, as well as Asian expats residing in the region, compete annually for the prestigious title.

Stingray, as Onifa is also known, has maintained an undefeated record since joining the series in July while Cabalo has consistently secured podium finishes in all three races she participated in, earning her a well-deserved spot in the championships.

The Filipino trail runners have again shown their toughness and resiliency, making their mark both locally and internationally. It is also noteworthy that the Philippines has previously clinched the championship in 2016 with Manolito Divina and in 2022 with Arnie Macaneras.

These victories are a testament to the athletes’ ability to navigate challenging terrains and overcome formidable opponents, serving as an inspiration for aspiring trail runners across the Philippines.