There was no golden victory so far but a hometown bet provided a ray of hope for the Philippines in the 12th Southeast Asian Youth Athletics Championship Monday at the Ilagan City Sports Complex in this bustling city.
Wally Gacusan bagged the silver medal in the boys’ high jump event, one of three won by the Philippines, in the prestigious event that serves as final tryouts for members of the national squad that will see action in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur in August.
Bucking a knee injury, Gacusan, a 17-year-old student at Isabela National High School, cleared the bar at 1.81 meters while compatriot Janmell Francis Gervacio settled for the bronze medal in 1.70 meters. Vo Ngoc Long Cao of Vietnam easily topped the event in 2.0 meters.
Gacusan said he was satisfied over his performance in the event featuring the future stars of the SEA Games.
“I am happy with my performance, although I could have done better if not for the knee injury I suffered during training four days before,” Gacusan said. “This is my first international competition. I know the best players are here so I really gave my best.”
Ilagan City Mayor Evelyn Diaz congratulated Gacusan, the youngest son of a corn farmer in the agricultural barangay of Sta. Isabel Norte here.
She vowed to provide cash incentives to hometown bets who will manage a podium finish in this tourney and the 2017 Ayala Philippine National Open Invitational Athletics Championships which unwrap on Thursday. Gold medalists will get P10,000, silver medalists will receive P8,000 and bronze medalists will take home P5,000.
The Philippines was running fourth in the medal tally with three silver and six bronze medals after the early morning action. Vietnam, which registered two of the four new records, was on top with four gold medals while Indonesia and Thailand had three mints apiece.
Also making his presence felt in the event presented by the City of Ilagan and sponsored by Ayala Corporation with Milo, Philippine Sports Commission and International Amateur Athletics Federation as co-presentor and Foton Pilipinas, UCPB Gen and Run Rio as minor sponsors is Eduard Josh Buenavista, the son of former SEA Games champion Eduardo Buenavista.
Other Filipino silver medalists Monday were Eliza Cuyom in the girls’ 100m hurdles and Trexie Dela Torre in the girls’ long jump. Winning bronze medals Jasmine Remolino, girls’ discus throw; Ruthelma Laylay, girls’ 100-meter hurdles; Gianell Gatinga, girls’ long jump and Christian Ampong, boys’ javelin throw.
The 15-year-old Buenavista bucked an injured right thigh as he tallied nine minutes and 25.85 seconds run to claim the bronze medal in the boys’ 3,000-meter run.
Hendrik Marlyonda of Indonesia bagged the gold medal in a record-breaking 9:07.36 while Syed Hussein Aljuneid of Singapore settled for the silver medal in 9:10.98.
“I’m not yet satisfied. I feel I could have done better,” said Buenavista, a student of Baguio National Science High School who claimed the silver medal in the 6th Children of Asia event last year in Yakutst, Russia.
“I fell on the stairs three days ago so I can feel the pain on my right thigh. Pero hindi ko na lang po pinansin. Ang mahalaga ay makatakbo ako ng maayos,” he added.
Also coming up with golden finishes Monday were Namee Satapor of Thailand in the boys’ long jump, Thi Trang Dang of Vietnam in the girls’ javelin throw, Jeany Nurauni Amelia Agreta of Indonesia in the girls’ 100-meter run, Kittipoom Khotsara of Thailand in the boys’ 100-meter run, Thi Kanh Ny Ngo of Vietnam in the girls’ 800-meter run, Wempy Pelomania of Indonesia in the boys’ 800-meter run, Jakkapat Noisri of Thailand in the boys’ discuss throw event, and Thu Hang Doan of Vietnam in the girls 3,000-meter run. (Malaya)