Thursday, 17 December 2009

Record feats spark RP's 7-gold run

by Gerry Carpio
The Philippine Star

VIENTIANE – Marestella Torres leapt to the record books in a rare show of class, while ageless judoka John Baylon won his eighth straight Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) medal in a couple of heart-warming golden performances at the forefront of the country’s 7-gold haul for fifth place Wednesday.

Torres ripped the 20-year-old mark in the long jump with a leap of 6.68 meters and in the judo hall at the Chao Inouvoung stadium in downtown Vientiane, Baylon won the gold in the over-78 kg class to win a record eighth straight gold. He has won in all his SEAG stints except in the Brunei Games where judo was not included in the calendar.

Equally spectacular were the golden efforts of women boxers Josie Gabuco, Alice Kate Apparri and Annie Albania, who all won the gold in convincing style at the boxing gym of the National University.

Wushu, a top performing sport during the last 10 years, finally scored and Tac Padilla, the first Filipino to compete in the SEA Games for 16 straight times, saved the day for the shooting team by winning the gold in the 25m rapid fire pistol at the National Sports Complex.

Sanshou entry Mariane Mariano (56 kgs) took a while to heat up but the 2008 Asian Cup bronze medal winner eventually dominated Nguyan Thi Oanh of Vietnam to nail wushu’s first gold after a three-fight shutout that affected the RP drive.

Mariano’s teammate Daniel Parantac settled for a bronze in the taiquijian and taijijian with 19.22 behind the 19.39 of Malaysian Jack Chang and Vietnam’s Nguyen Thanh Tung (19.29). In the female side of the event Stephanie Agbay was fifth.

Non-winners for RP on Wednesday were the men’s compound team in archery, which lost to Indonesia 224-231, the mixed triple in petanque that did not score against Vietnam 0-13, and 110m hurdles entry Sheila Atilano, who had a time of 14.37 behind winner Dedeh Erawati of Indonesia (13.34).

Jennifer Chan earlier won the gold in the women’s compound, while Earl Benjie Yap took the bronze in the men’s side over Thanonglityh Siriponh of Laos, 118-107.

With barely two days left in the biennial meet, the race for the overall supremacy took on interesting subplots with Thailand (61-68-79) slugging it out with Vietnam (61-55-47) for the overall championship. Indonesia (32-55-47) and Singapore (32-73-33) were in the heat of battle for third place, while the Philippines (30-24-41) surged ahead of Malaysia (29-36-51) in their battle for fifth.

“The goal is there and it’s a matter of keeping up the pressure on our opponents,” said PSC chair Harry Angping in a text message. He has a separate P300,000 cash reward for each RP victor here.

In tennis, Cecil Mamiit and Treat Huey made sure the singles gold will not slip through by hurdling their respective semis foes.

Mamiit beat Cambodia’s Tan Nysan, 6-1, 6-2, after 23- year-old Huey ousted Thailand’s Danai Udomchoke, 7-5, 7-6, 8-6.

“I think it’s the first time ever that two Filipinos will meet in the singles finals, so we can say we are the best at least in Southeast Asia,” said team manager Randy Villanueva.

“Sana magtuloy-tuloy pa tayo,” added the man whose charges are also on track for the golds in mixed doubles and men’s and women’s doubles.

From some other fronts came sad stories.

Also at the National University petanque court, the mixed triples team (one woman, two men) of Mary Grace Munar, Aristides Samia and Arnulfo Masumbol could only come up with a bronze, while Lloyd Catiphon bowed out right in the quarterfinals of the 66kg-and-under.

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